Last Friday, we welcomed our new Young Quartet in Residence for their first public masterclass and evening concert here at Wiltshire Music Centre. Read on for an audience perspective on this talented young group!

 

Something is happening at the Wiltshire Music Centre which commands attention and respect.  It is the carefully planned nurturing of young minds and future names.  We already know the brilliant youth and jazz orchestras, and now, John Myerscough – cellist in the world-renowned Doric String Quartet whose very beginnings were at the Music Centre – was master-classing the Marmen Quartet in Haydn’s Opus 50 No.1 Quartet, his own experience now nurturing four already acclaimed but younger musicians. The Marmen were launching their new Young Quartet residency at the Wiltshire Music Centre and are the inaugural winners of Music in the Round’s ‘Bridge’ scheme. All four players are individually acclaimed musicians in their own right.

The session started with their playing the entire first movement. Gradually and delicately John started to pick away at issues so subtle that until he started talking about them the average listener, such as myself, would never have noticed them. He movingly expounded on the totality of the emotional, intellectual and physical aspects of musical interpretation and at one point discussed the simple fact that members of this quartet were from four different countries with four different teachers and were playing on four different instruments and yet, by the nature of the composer’s demands upon them, had to arrive at the start of each and every note with the utmost precision. This led to his demonstrating the instant of bow addressing string. Fascinating. So worth coming to.

The evening concert started with Haydn’s Quartet in B-Flat major Opus 50 No.1, which had been the subject of the earlier masterclass given that morning by John Myerscough. It starts in a strangely subdued way followed by energetic development which the Quartet readily responded to. The remainder was bright, sparkling and full of contrasting passages. This scintillating piece was then followed by Mozart’s vivacious ‘Spring’ Quartet in G major, K387.

After the interval was a sumptuous performance of Schubert’s glorious String Quintet in C major D956 in which they were joined by John Myerscough. Within the vigour and drive of the first, third and fourth movements was the beautifully poised hush of the Adagio, breathless in all its poignancy. Here I shall always remember the exquisite placing and eloquence of Myerscough’s underlying pizzicatos. All this grief to be shattered briefly by the defiant and vengeful central passage. Something sublime and very special was captured within the whole of this performance.

 

Review kindly supplied by Antony Corfe