Huw Watkins Piano Quartet
Last June the Ensemble gave the premiere of a new Piano Quartet by Huw Watkins at the Spitalfields Festival in London, which it repeated the following day at the Lower Machen Festival in Wales. Huw Watkins has been blazing a trail at the forefront of young British composers for several years, and the Ensemble was delighted to have a new piece from him. It is a single movement work, tightly woven from just a small handful of melodic ideas. After an exquisite opening in the strings, the piece build in momentum and drama, before subsiding into quiet again at the end. The premiere was halted in dramatic fashion by Douglas's viola exploding on the stage. (The tailgut on his viola snapped, sending the bridge flying across the stage and leaving the strings dangling). Fortunately an audience member dashed home to get his viola, and saved the day. Critics were full of praise for the new quartet, the Times asserting that "every second was worthwhile". The work will receive several further performances in the coming months, including one at Kings Place on 9th March as part of the Ensemble's 30th Annivesary series.