Dante Quartet with Mark Bebbington

A sumptuous feast of moorland music: Dante Quartet with Mark Bebbington at Tavistock Church

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Presidents of musical associations and ensembles tend more often to be merely figureheads. But when you’re also a highly prolific and respected local composer in your own right, then you should expect a part of the action on the night.

Former Kelly College Director of Music Andrew Wilson has developed his love and facility for composing over many years, during which his works have been frequently heard globally locally, garnered a number of prestigious awards and prizes, and been broadcast on national radio.

Now free from his educational responsibilities, Andrew is President of Tavistock Festival – an annual mix of arts and music currently in its fifteenth season – and it was therefore most fitting that his Piano Quintet should receive its premiere on this year’s opening night, and played by the Dante Quartet and Mark Bebbington, themselves no strangers to audiences locally.

Opening with Schubert’s Rosamunde Quartet, Krysia Osostowicz and the Dantes were on top form with a performance of the highest quality, and certainly a hard act to follow. But Andrew’s new Piano Quintet entitled Conversation Pieces, proved immensely entertaining, helped greatly by Mark’s consummate performance at the piano, and was arguably the evening’s highlight purely in terms of the wow factor.

But the Dantes then matched this with a stunning reading of Beethoven’s First Razumovsky Quartet, which provided an ideal conclusion to this sumptuous feast of moorland music.

PHILIP R BUTTALL