After the wonderful starting programme in 2017, Cowal Music Club was once again treated to another exceptional afternoon of music performed by the very accomplished Roxburgh Quartet. This ensemble, founded in Edinburgh 10 years ago, is composed of four very experienced players namely Rachel Spencer (violin ), Andrew Lees (violin),Shelagh McCall ( viola ) and Helen Duncan (cello).
Each member is engaged in a wide variety of musical areas including teaching , arranging and conducting and all hail from different parts of the UK and now based in Edinburgh although they perform, not only in the UK, with many different orchestras and groups but also as far afield as the Middle East. Their philosophy is to encourage as wide an audience as possible to enjoy live music , especially in intimate settings like music clubs where proximity to the audience is in their words a "truly life enhancing experience". The Quartet has just completed a tour of Argyll and Bute and the final concert in Cowal may have been the best saved for last. The repertoire is extensive and on Sunday works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn were chosen. Their first piece from Beethoven, denoted No 1, though actually his second quartet work, encompassed a wide range of emotions with the second movement being inspired by the "tomb scene in "Romeo and Juliet" and was played with the appropriate passion. Following this we had Shostakovich's No 1 in C major, Opus 49. being his first attempt at this form of composition as he lacked confidence in this area. However, undoubtedly, he achieved a fine piece of work. He called it the Spring Quartet and included folk music in the second movement introduced initially by the viola which then dominated throughout. The final allegro movement rounded off the piece in a very lively manner. Finally, to complete the programme we heard the work by Mendelssohn. Unlike the other two works this was was composed in the later stages of his life and was the result of his heartfelt grief at the death of his sister. Although often filled with anguish and ,at times, even frenzied , there were beautiful, melodic, reflective passages and the work ended with moving peaceful finale. All in all, this was a most enjoyable and uplifting concert performed by an outstanding ensemble and enjoyed to the full by a capacity audience who showed enthusiastic appreciation in the usual manner.