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Arnold Bax: String Quartet No. 3
II. Poco lento
III. Scherzo and Trio
Arnold Bax: Lyrical Interlude
Arnold Bax: String Quartet in E major
String Quartet in E major, "Cathaleen-ni-Hoolihan"
“Bax composed the last of his three mature string quartets between May and September 1936, inscribing it to the Griller Quartet who gave the first performance on the BBC National Programme the following May. An appealing, cogently structured 37-minute work, it's cast (unusually for Bax) in four movements, the joyous first of which 'was probably influenced by the coming of spring in beautiful Kenmare' (to quote the composer's own descriptive notes in The Radio Times). An Irish flavour also permeates the bardic Poco lento, while the third movement's 'dreamy, remotely romantic' trio melody is eventually cleverly welded to the 'rather sinister and malicious' scherzo material. The vigorous finale builds up a fine head of steam and incorporates a wistful backward glance just before the close that's entirely characteristic of its creator. The Maggini Quartet forge a well-paced and concentrated interpretation, playing with assurance, infectious rhythmic snap and heartwarming dedication. They are joined by violist Garfield Jackson for the haunting Lyrical Interlude from 1922 (a reworking of the slow movement from Bax's ambitious String Quintet of 1908), and there's another rarity in the shape of the lovely Adagio ma non troppo centrepiece from the 1903 String Quartet in E major that Bax orchestrated two years later as his first tone-poem, Cathaleen-ni-Hoolihan. Throughout, the sound is faithful in timbre and the balance most musically judged.”