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Brahms wrote his String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 67 in 1876 and its largely unclouded and cheerful qualities culminate in a theme and variations finale of exceptional imagination and mastery of form. His last chamber music was inspired by a great exponent of the clarinet, Richard Mühlfeld, for whom he wrote four works including the Clarinet Quintet. This dazzling masterpiece is notable not only for its underlying elegiac mood but for its thematic interrelation and the wide expressive range of the solo instrument. The first two String Quartets can be heard in performances described by Classics Today as “…passionate expressions of these scores".
Brahms’s two String Quartets, Op. 51 were the first he published but, completed in his 40th year, are very much mature masterpieces. He was very conscious of the tradition that lay behind the quartet genre, and the spirits of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert ensured that he took the greatest of care when preparing his own quartets. Each perfectly proportioned movement of these works creates its own unique expressive narrative, exploring bitter-sweet tonalities and thematic treatment ranging from tender lyricism to dramatic intensity.
Recorded at St Ann's Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada from 16th - 18th July, 2014.
This recording of Douglas Lilburn’s complete string chamber music celebrates the centenary of his birth, and is crowned by a world première recording of the Phantasy Quartet which won the Cobbett Prize at the Royal College of Music in 1939. On his return from studies in London to Christchurch in 1940 Lilburn embarked upon a prolific and varied period of creativity. This included the String Quartet in E minor, notable for its intense yet supple lyric power, the three Canzonettas, quasi-Elizabethan in tone as befits their tie to incidental music he wrote for Ngaio Marsh’s productions of Shakespeare’s plays in Christchurch, and the Schubert-influenced String Trio.
String Quartet in E Minor
1. I. Andante 00:06:51
2. II. Allegretto 00:02:34
3. III. Allegro 00:07:47
4. I. Andante con moto 00:02:58
5. II. Allegro 00:02:25
6. III. Andante 00:02:49
7. IV. Allegro 00:04:15
8. V. Lento 00:04:25
9. VI. Allegramente 00:02:31
10. I. Allegro non troppo 00:06:32
11. II. Allegretto 00:04:37
12. III. Allegro 00:05:26
Canzonetta No. 1
13. Canzonetta No. 1 00:03:16
Canzonetta No. 2
14. Canzonetta No. 2 00:01:06
Canzonetta No. 3
15. Canzonetta No. 3 00:04:24
16. Phantasy 00:10:43
A diverse and fascinating collection of works for string quartet by NZ composers.
"This celebration of the inspirational symbiosis that these four musicians share with our composer community has much going for it. If one could venture a superlative for the word immaculate, then this production would deserve it; as far as visual presentation is concerned, Simon Kaan's “Untitled Waka” on the cover could not be bettered for cool elegance.”
William Dart, NZ Herald
Music by John Psathas, Jack Body, Ross Harris, Gareth Farr and Michael Norris
December 2010 Atoll CD Ltd ACD 118
Producer: Wayne Laird
Winner Best Classical Album at Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2011
Schubert represents a milestone in the Quartet’s career of over 25 years with a recording of Franz Schubert’s masterpiece, String Quartet in G Major. As Schubert’s final and most epic string quartet, it is essential listening for classical music and string quartet enthusiasts. Schubert pushed the boundaries of string quartet writing of his time by including a huge range of dramatic contrast and requiring a high level of technical prowess from performers. This work is inventive and conveys a sense of urgency with its major/minor harmonic conflict, sudden accents and change of dynamics. It remains as a pinnacle of string quartet repertoire.
1. String Quartet No.15 in G Major: Allegro molto moderato
2. String Quartet No.15 in G Major: Andante un poco moto
3. String Quartet No.15 in G Major: Scherzo: Trio
4. String Quartet No.15 in G Major: Allegro assai