On hearing Purcell and Shostakovich at Bantry House – June 2008

Composer: John Kinsella (b. 1932)
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Composer: John Kinsella (b. 1932)

Performance date: 29/06/2009

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 2009

Duration: 00:12:47

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:String Quartet

Artists: RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe [violins], Simon Aspell [viola], Christopher Marwood [cello]) - [quartet]

On Monday 30th June last year [2008] the Rosamunde Quartet gave an evening concert at Bantry House.  Each half consisted of two Fantasias by Purcell followed by a Shostakovich string quartet.
The recital was broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm and it was arranged that there would be no applause until the entire event had concluded. The effect was quite profound and, it seemed to me, drew the audience very closely into the music making.
Andreas Reiner , leader of the Rosamunde Quartet , wrote a most thought provoking note on the concert and I quote an extract from this  “And then there is the sound! What kind of miracle is this? Three hundred years apart yet so close. When Shostakovich fantasises over D-S-C-H   that might as well have been written by Purcell. And listen to the opening of Shostakovich No.15! It’s not just the fugue-fantasie-counterpoint-thing , it’s the unusual and immediate sense of personal conduct. Not the older, but the younger scores seem to tell the player a lot about the use of vibrato. Both composers seem to ask for a certain “breathing” sound.
This new work is a recollection of last year’s Rosamunde Quartet concert shaped into a prelude, toccata and epilogue, and draws on motifs principally from the opening and closing works, Purcell’s Fantasia No.2 in B-flat and Shostakovich’s last quartet, No.15 in E-flat minor.