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Kreutzers & friends at Waterloo Festival

Bartok String Quartet No 3; Martin Ellerby 'Epitaph VII: Memento (Terezin)' (world premiere);
Elliott Schwartz String Quartet No 2
Dvorák Quintet in G, Op 77

The Kreutzer Quartet, with clarinettist Linda Merrick and Diana Matthews, viola

St John's Waterloo, Waterloo Rd, SE1, 13 July 2012

With Wilton's Music Hall [below] closed for renovation, a good sized audience came to hear a typical Kreutzers & friends concert opposite Waterloo Station (occasional trains could be heard in this large, bright church). An exceptionally fine performance of Bartok's concise No 3, one to remember, began what proved to be something of a marathon for players and audience.

Elliot Schwartz's wayward and unpredictable String Quartet No. 2 was harder to take in at first hearing; it included passages of spoken speech; see USA review below*.

A typically full Kreutsers programme included two major quintets, with two guests who distinguished themselves.

Martin Ellerby, a prolific British composer new to me, showed a marvellous capacity for blending clarinet and strings. His piece turned out disconcertingly though to be a lengthy composition in nine movements; in this context for me it outstayed its welcome. Linda Merrick had recorded it for Naxos** and I must hear it again.

The Dvorak Quintet Op 77, the one with two violas, was a joy, with everyone as in top form to bring a great chamber concert to an exhilarating conclusion.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Images PGW: players applauding Martin Ellerby

* - - inspired by the work of contemporaries Aaron Copland and Louise Nevelson, like one of Nevelson's sculptures, Schwartz's 2nd Quartet is a monumental edifice built of (musical) fragments assembled into blocks of sound. Copland's - - tone row, shown to Schwartz at the Library of Congress, was the genesis of the quartet, which received a new impetus and direction from a visit to an exhibition of Nevelson's sculpture. The Copland tone-row appears throughout the work and supports an effective use of the spoken word, with quotations from both artists - - [Christopher Hyde]

** Martin Ellerby’s Epitaph VII is part of a series “reflecting atrocities associated with events related to World War II, its subject the Nazi concentration camp in the former Czechoslovakia.” The nine brief movements track through klezmer (Deportation Train and Closed Town), melancholy reflection familiar from Gorecki and Suk (Tears and The Silent Hunger), creepy despair (Forgotten) and touching moments of escape from reality (Butterfly and Olga). The Olga movement is plangent with a keenly nostalgic blade. - - Linda Merrick strikes me as a most sensitive player who seems also to take great care over minimising the sounds of the mechanical key actions of her instrument. - - A varied anthology accommodating a variety of styles: tougher for Clarke and Roxburgh and with more melodic gravamen and accessible humanity in the case of Ellerby and Turnbull. [Music Web]


Mendelssohn & Trandafilowski

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (1822) and Trandsfilovski Diptych

Kreutzers & friends

6 June 2012

* The future of Wilton's Music Hall is now assured, and this was the last concert there before its closure for some months for structural renovation; every effort will be made not to compromise its unique atmosphere.

The concert took the form of a celebration, with musicians and guests "from all over the world". It attracted a full house, in the body of the hall and filling the balcony too, a remarkable achievement in which the Kreutzers have played a significant role in creating a growing audience.


We look forward to the re-opening and to the Kreutzers renewing their residency; meanwhile, they are engaged for the summer recording and touring abroad, including to Sweden.

Peter Grahame Woolf