Friday, 17 July 2009

The Marion Scott Quartet: A Review from The Times 10th December 1908

As part of my preparation for an article about the music of Marion M. Scott I came across this review in The Times newspaper. It seems to have been a successful concert in spite of the reviewer’s misgivings about her leadership qualities. It is another small contribution to the life and times of this talented woman. Pamela Blevins has champion Scott, who was a musician, a writer, a musicologist and a composer. The key (only!) biographical text is Blevins’s book Ivor Gurney & Marion Scott: Song of Pain & Beauty.

The first of the two concerts, which together make up an excellent scheme, was given by Miss Marion Scott at the Aeolian Hall on Tuesday night. The concerts are undertaken for performance of the larger forms of British chamber music of various periods. In arranging the programmes the concert-giver has wisely avoided the chronological order which is apt to turn such special programmes into historical lectures rather than concerts.
An artistic propriety and contrast were maintained as the chief consideration, we were given a delightful programme, in which one of Purcell’s fantasies for strings was followed by the late W.Y Hurlstone’s beautiful Fantasy in A minor. In the centre of the programme was placed Sir C. V. Stanford’s quartet on G minor (Op99), and the concert ended with a Sonata for strings and harpsichord by Arne, which made a genial and most effective ending. Miss Scott led an able quartet completed by Mr. Herbert Kinze, Miss Sybil Maturin, and Mr Ivor James. She is herself a good violinist, and everything she undertakes is the work of a thoughtful musician. But she is not always a strong leader, and there were moments in the allegros of Stanford’s Quartet which suffered from the lack of a decisive lead. The expressive slow movement was, however, played with true insight and with beautifully balanced tone. Mr W.H. Harris played the harpsichord part in the Sonata upon the piano, and also accompanied Miss Maria Yelland in a number of songs. These included several by Sir Hubert Parry, and Hurlstone’s “Baby Ballads” in which the singer’s beautiful voice was most effective.

Alas neither the Stanford Quartet nor the Hurlstone Fantasy is currently in the CD catalogues.

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