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Catalyst Quartet and pianist Stewart Goodyear capture the freshness and subtle structure of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's mature work / BBC Music Magazine

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In his short lifetime, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor achieved fame but not fortune as the so-called ‘African Mahler' who composed The Song of Hiawatha.

Through four colourful movements, the Catalyst Quartet and pianist Stewart Goodyear capture the combination of freshness and subtle structural command that would become a hallmark of Coleridge-Taylor's mature work. From the assertive octaves of the opening Allegro to the sudden switches of mood and key of its closing fellow, spaciousness and verve hold sway.

Coleridge-Taylor's instinct for instrumentation is further developed in the 1895 Fantasiestücke and Clarinet Quintet; the latter marking his arrival as a fully-fledged chamber music adept. It was written following his teacher Stanford's challenge: that no clarinet quintet following Brahms's could escape its influence. Coleridge-Taylor reached to his beloved Dvořák to create a deft, complex but easy elasticity between clarinet and strings. And here Anthony McGill proves an ideally sensitive clarinet soloist-cum-partner to the Catalyst: for in none of these works does any single instrument monopolise the texture or thematic interest.

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