The sweet sounds of Etchingham Festival

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Etchingham’s 2014 Festival opens on Sat week, July 5 at 7.30 p.m. not with a bang but with a far sweeter sound. A sweep of strings proclaims the presence of the Heath String Quartet, three boys and a girl who muster two violins, viola and ‘cello. The viola is slightly larger than the violin with a more mellow tone. It is considered an accompanying instrument, although William Walton wrote a viola concerto.

In 2002 the three players met as students at the renowned Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Six years later they had become well-known to concert promoters and today know world-wide fame. Their honouring in 2012 by the London Philharmonic Society as their Young Artists of the Year was but one of the many awards they have collected over the years.

Their Etchingham programme features Haydn’s opus 64/66, Bela Bartok’s No 6 Quartet and Beethoven’s opus 132 String Quartet, three contrasting works which affords the opportunity for each of the players to have their moment in the spotlight.

The Heath Quartet’s performance makes a fine opening to a week of glorious music of various genres. Tickets £16.00 (concs.£14) may be reserved on line at by telephone to 01580 819384, or by post to Etchingham Music Festival, PO Box 100, Etchingham E.Sussex TN19 7US. This will assuredly prove a memorable occasion.

Marrion Wells