Faultless in Every Aspect……Warmth, Dynamism and Emotion

The York Press, Matt Clark
Harrogate International Summer Festival, Wesley Chapel, Harrogate

WHILE Harrogate’s feral youths were making a nuisance of themselves outside the Wesley Chapel, inside three of the town’s young lads restored the audience’s faith in teenagers.

They had been chosen to open last Saturday’s concert by members of Manchester’s Aquarelle Guitar Quartet from a master-class held earlier in the day.

All were fine musicians and they will cherish this fleeting moment in the limelight – until it is their turn to headline the stage.

Then the main act came on and showed just how great the rift between budding guitarists and these gifted musicians is.

Hailed as the next big thing to hit the classical music scene, Aquarelle Guitar Quartet was faultless in every aspect. Technically all four are superb but crucially that doesn’t get in the way of warmth, dynamism and emotion in the performance.

The quartet isn’t afraid to take on a challenge either. [Luigi Boccherini’s (arr. Jeremy Sparks) Introduction & Fandango] was astonishing.

Then the interpretation of jazz guitarist David Pritchard’s eclectic Stairs and one of the Brandenburg concertos were both sublime.

The Aquarelle musicians are artists in residence for the festival and return on Saturday, when they play St Wilfrid’s Church with friends Craig Ogden, guitar, Andy Scott, saxophone, David Hassell, percussion, Sally Johnson, soprano, and Louise Thompson, harp.

To sample their work ahead of the 8pm concert, their new album Dances is a fine, mesmerising introduction.