Bingham Quartet, Woodend Barn, Banchory
As part of a pre-concert workshop for the sound Festival, the Bingham Quartet performed works by three young composers. Problems arising from ambiguous notation or the impossibility of certain note sequences on the various instruments were examined and comments on the performance elicited from the composers. It was a fascinating insight into the technicalities of string quartet writing. William Gilmour from Shetland, Peter Cudmore from Edinburgh and James East from Northampton had produced three very different pieces; the first, finely crafted, the second more technically adventurous and the last, the most instantly appealing. These young composers were all proteges of a more seasoned composer, David Ward, who was present to hear the premiere of his own Sixth Quartet.
The concert proper opened with a vivid and lively performance of Schubert's Quartettsatz in c minor. It had The Bingham Quartet making Schubert's intermittent gusts of shivering strings present a chilly contrast to one of his sunniest tunes.
David Ward's Quartet succeeded in negotiating a finely drawn line between the grittiness of modern musical language and a softer more nostalgic style, slipping easily into splendidly fanciful melodic reverie at the heart of the piece and then as easily back into ever faster passages driven by intoxicating dance-like rhythms.
Copyright Alan Cooper - published in The Herald, Glasgow (Newsquest Media Group)