image: Mick Williamson
Tarred Yarn Store, Royal Dockyard Chatham
25 April 2021
All the hallmarks that make John Woolrich’s music so alluring are evident in Ending Up – the idiomatic instrumental writing from a master transcriber, a meticulous balance, a wistful lyricism tugged at by disruptive undercurrents. But what is most striking here is the patience with which the ideas are explored and developed, the work given a gentle, unhurried propulsion by the transformation of the opening bars, often wrapped in sparse and translucent textures. The spell is unbroken save for brief gruff lower string interjections, whereupon the opening material returns, gliding upwards towards a vertiginous resolution. A Book of Inventions for string quartet (a medium that seems to suit Woolrich and which he evidently adores) seems like an energetic refiring of creativity. This single slow movement is a taut, eloquent addition to a compelling collection.