The esteemed Vermeer Quartet joins forces with phenomenal oboist Alex Klein in three pillars of 20th-century British chamber music.
Benjamin Britten's spellbinding Phantasy Quartet (1932) for oboe, violin, viola, and cello was his first work to gain international recognition. This passionate piece displays elements that became hallmarks of his unique style.
Noteworthy for its sublime balance between oboe and strings, Arthur Bliss's gorgeous Quintet for Oboe and String Quartet (1927) deftly blends diverse styles and influences, concluding with the ingenious use of an Irish jig.
In a fitting finale, the Vermeer plays Britten's last major work, the String Quartet No. 3 (1975). The New York Times says of the valedictory piece, "Every episode. . . seems to emanate from some mystical realm."
“…an enterprising and useful coupling. Britten's trim and deft little Phantasy Quartet is hardly over-recorded, while Arthur Bliss's Oboe Quintet of 1927, with its delightful Irish-jig finale, has remained virtually unknown in comparison to his later Clarinet Quintet. Alex Klein, principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony, gives deeply affectionate, incisively characterised accounts of both these pieces, his rich and plangent tone coming into its own in Bliss's sumptuous central Andante.”
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