In its first chamber music concert performed by UK musicians since the pandemic, St James hosts the Coull Quartet in a captivating programme of Mozart, Debussy and Mendelssohn.
Roger Coull has long been admired for his interpretation of Mendelssohn. It is music that has simply been written for his hands. Hardly surprising therefore that the BBC’s ‘Building a Library’ rated the Coull Quartet top of their list a while back when reviewing recordings of Mendelssohn’s quartets.
Debussy’s only quartet was written when he was 31, at a time when wider art forms were moving away from the Romantic era and searching for new forms of expression. Listeners will be able to imagine the impact it must have had on its first audience, given that it was composed in the same year as Dvorak’s unashamedly romantic ‘American’ quartet.
Mozart’s ‘Dissonance’ quartet was also a revolutionary work with its slow, mysterious opening sounding incredibly modern even today. We are left to ponder what musical gems we are denied by the composer’s early death.
It was in 1974 that Roger Coull first came to Guernsey as a student from the Royal Academy of Music to add strength to the embryonic orchestra formed by the Guernsey Choral and Orchestral Society’s performance of Messiah at St Stephen’s Church that Christmas.
It was that same year he formed the string quartet that bears his name from students at the Academy and endeavouring to gain concert experience he agreed to a tour of Jersey, Sark, Alderney and Guernsey the following year. The success of that tour guaranteed a lasting relationship between these islands and the quartet that has endured and deepened to this day.
The quartet’s subsequent involvement as tutors on the Elizabeth College Summer Orchestral Course and as section leaders in the Guernsey Symphony Orchestra has been capped only by their ready willingness to join in the Baroque Band at the Cock & Bull!
The concert is at St James on Tuesday 15 March at the earlier time of 7.30pm.
Mozart ‘Dissonance’ K465 in C maj
Debussy in G min Op 10
Mendelssohn in D maj Op 44 no 1
Roger Coull violin
Philip Gallaway violin
Jonathan Barritt viola
Nicholas Roberts cello
Supported by the Swallow Charitable Trust