Tickhill Music Society celebrated the life of its founder, Philip Mottram, at a recent concert given by the Alkyona Quartet. The Society was formed in 1977, and since then has presented over 300 concerts.
The programme, devised by the Alkyona, contained works by two familiar composers – Brahms and Borodin – and a third virtually unknown: Henriette Bosmans, a Dutch composer from the first half of the 20th century. The angular texture of her work was the perfect introduction to the talents of the Quartet.
This was followed by Borodin’s second quartet, which with its lyrical third movement needed no introduction, and gave full rein to the cellist. Borodin dedicated the work to his wife, and it was easy to imagine that he was thinking of her when he wrote it.
The second half of the concert consisted of Brahms’ third quartet. Brahms was born in the same year as Borodin but could not have been a more different personality – the latter convivial, the former (who destroyed 22 of the 25 quartets that he wrote) obsessive. The mysterious nature of the third quartet must have puzzled the 19th century audience, but was skilfully interpreted by the Alkyona.
At the end of the evening the audience was treated to an encore in the form of a traditional Danish folk song, which included vocals by the first violin player.
For anyone curious about the name of the quartet, Alkyona is Greek for kingfisher, symbolising the flashes of inspiration which musicians can experience. The audience at Tickhill was left in no doubt that the concert had been touched by similar flashes of brilliance.