Maggini Quartet

The Maggini Quartet gave a great performance for Cockermouth Music Society of three sharply contrasting pieces, which demonstrated to the full the extraordinary unity of purpose which emanates from this wonderful quartet of string players.

Mozart’s Quartet in F (K590) has all the assured beauty one always associates with this composer, bringing with it a sense of calm and wellbeing, admirably brought out by all players. Each player had solo moments, none more so than the cello, which sang in the hands of Michal Kaznowski, but all was woven into a satisfying whole.

Dramatic contrast was then supplied by Malcolm Arnold’s Second String Quartet which can never be easy listening, filled as it is with the sounds one can only associate with a tortured soul struggling to make sense of life. The players were spectacularly successful in the way they pursued the more furious areas between gentler but sublime musical statements, which seem to denote the composer’s efforts at normality amidst a welter of despair and passion. This was a gripping performance from a group of remarkable musicians and Julian Leaper’s magnificent violin solo at the beginning of the second movement, followed by Arnold’s take on an Irish reel (you could almost see the fumes of whisky rising!) was particularly moving. One could truthfully say the audience was both shaken AND stirred!

Brahms’ Third Quartet in B flat was very much a return to the classical world in all its satisfying form, the composer using the folk idiom to great advantage. David Angel (violin) and Martin Outram (viola) opened the first movement with all their consistent control, again demonstrating how every member of this quartet underlines the unquestionable strength of the Maggini Quartet as a musical force majeure.