Review: Coull Quartet help make it a very happy birthday in Tickhill

The Coull Quartet with Tickhill Music Society founder Philip Mottram
The Coull Quartet with Tickhill Music Society founder Philip Mottram

Tickhill Music Society celebrated its 40th anniversary by inviting back the string quartet who had played at its inaugural concert in 1977.

The quartet in question was the Coull Quartet, at the outset of their career 40 years ago, but now internationally renowned.

They presented a programme of contrasts, with Prokofiev and Mozart in the first half and Dvorák in the second, and the large and appreciative audience included a number of founder members.

The quartet’s playing of the Prokofiev proved that age had not withered them as they confidently navigated the angular rhythms of the music and conveyed the turbulent emotions of the composer as he contemplated his return to the USSR after 15 years’ self-imposed exile.

They then demonstrated their versatility by moving swiftly on to the charms of the Mozart, written nearly 150 years earlier.

If authenticity was needed, the quartet played on instruments which all pre-dated Mozart’s birth.

The whole of the second half was given to a spirited account of the Dvorák which formed a neat stylistic bridge between the two preceding works, and delighted the audience with its use of traditional Czech dance rhythms.

It was clear that the Coull Quartet enjoyed playing again at Tickhill as much as the audience enjoyed listening to them, and the evening was rounded off by an entertaining encore in the form of the Shostakovich Polka.

The Coull fully lived up to the tribute given to them of being a ‘magnificent, seasoned ensemble’, and a more fitting way could not have been found of marking 40 years of music-making by this enterprising society.