A Chat with Anthony Marwood

We peppered Anthony Marwood with a few questions about the Bernstein work he'll be performing tonight, "Serenade after Plato's Symposium." The piece features five movements, each one of which represents a speech given by a philosopher at Socrates's gathering on the nature of love. At the end of the night, a drunken party arrives, and one final speech is given, by a slightly inebriated lover of Socrates himself. An amazing work, which Anthony is playing for the first time with us - and we wanted to get his take on it and see if he had any favorite bits! 

Yes, this piece was a discovery for me, but working on it has been a thrill. Its points of reference are so rich, both literary and musical : aside from Plato, Charles Ives, Kurt Weill, Mahler, Stravinsky are all encoded. But Bernstein is such a abundantly gifted composer and beguiling melodist that somehow it comes out sounding like him. There's passion and also restraint, and just in the last movement he lets rip - quite rightly as it depicts the rather inappropriate arrival of the revelers. The fourth movement (Agathon's speech) is especially heartfelt and touching.

How do you feel about being the sole British representatives on an all-American program? 

Funny, it hadn't really occurred to me! Perhaps I feel at home making music here. I think the all-American theme is interesting and quite rarely explored, but in general we are lucky as artists to be able to play music from all over the world, and to travel, so to speak, easily between these musical lands - no visa required.

You've played with A Far Cry once before; what you brought you back? And for extra credit, has anything changed about the group? 

Oh, I continued to take great interest even from afar! There's such an incredible work ethic here, a great commitment and an ability to play with razor-sharp chamber music skills, which makes it truly rewarding for a guest soloist like me. I like the inventiveness of their programming too. Over time all these skills have deepened, so it's great to be back making music with these inspiring friends...