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Coull Quartet with Mark Bebbington (piano)

25 Jun 2022

Frank Bridge: Three Idylls, H. 67

Ian Venables: Piano Quintet, Op. 27

Elgar: Piano Quintet, Op. 84

The Coull Quartet was formed in 1974 at the Royal Academy of Music, and rapidly achieved national recognition. They have played and broadcast at venues around the UK and internationally, and were Quartet-in‑Residence at the University of Warwick for 40 years. Amongst their many recordings are complete sets of Mendelssohn and Schubert works, and British music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including some commissioned by the quartet.

Mark Bebbington was a prize-winning student at the Royal College of Music, and later studied with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini. He has toured internationally as recitalist and soloist with some of the world’s leading orchestras, and is widely recognised as a champion of British music. He has made a number of critically-acclaimed recordings, including premières of several works.

Frank Bridge had early exposure to practical musicianship, playing violin in theatre orchestras conducted by his father. He studied with Stanford at the RCM, and became a professional viola player and conductor. His Three Idylls for Sting Quartet date from 1906, and helped to establish a reputation for appealing chamber works.

The Piano Quintet by Ian Venables received its first performance in 1996; it has been described as ‘lending a new late 20th Century dimension to the English pastoral’ with rich scoring and elegiac texture, ‘proving that composers can be original without being dissonant’. The Coull Quartet with Mark Bebbington have recorded the Quintet for SOMM Records.

Elgar’s Piano Quintet was written in 1918, when the Elgars were renting a cottage at Brinkwells in Sussex, and he drew inspiration from the natural beauty of the countryside. It is a powerful work, with at times an almost orchestral sonority.

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