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The English composer Edmund Rubbra described the string quartet as ‘the purest and most lucid texture available to a composer’, his essays in the form enlivened by Beethovenian vigour and song-like beauty.
It is a testament to his profound compositional craftsmanship that even when deploying diverse rhythms simultaneously or releasing the latent potential of what he called the ‘most positive yet mysterious intervals’, Rubbra weaves fascinating musical textures into a satisfying whole.
His Piano Trio No. 1 foregoes mere virtuosity for spiritual intensity, while several songs show his sensitivity in setting Medieval and Renaissance texts.
Edmund Rubbra: String Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 73
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo polimetrico – Vivace assai
III. Cavatina – Adagio tranquillo
Edmund Rubbra: Amoretti, Op. 43
I. Sonnett LXXVIII
II. Sonnett LXX
III. Sonnett LXXXIX
IV. Sonnett XXXVII
V. Sonnett XL
Edmund Rubbra: Ave Maria Gratia Plena
I. O my deir Hert
II. O excellent Virgin Princess
Edmund Rubbra: Piano Trio in 1 Movement, Op. 68
Andante moderato e molto flessibile
Tema – 3 Meditazione – Coda
“…a fine portrait of a composer with a calmly insistent mind of his own. The most individual statements are the two groups of songs for voice and string quartet… Charles Daniels sings these with equable composure, and immaculate sensitivity to Rubbra's word-setting; meanwhile the Maggini Quartet's accompaniments evoke the sound of a viol consort without overdoing it...”
“[the Second Quartet] is a bracingly cogent utterance...The Maggini players do it proud, their treatment of the sublime cavatina slow movement affording especial pleasure. No complaints, either, with Charles Daniels's intelligent and stylish collaboration with the Magginis”