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Alfred Hill was the doyen of Australasian composers, and his exploration of the string quartet demonstrates the range of his imagination. Both the Tenth and Eleventh quartets were written in 1935, but they offer richly differing affiliations. No. 10 brings a classical formality fused with hints of Gershwin, and a remarkable last movement which recalls the three earlier movements in rapid succession in just 32 bars, whereas No. 11 marks the height of Hill’s impressionist refinement, complete with a characteristically beautiful slow movement. The ‘Life’ Quintet, with its vocal finale, was written in 1912, a fascinating experiment later reworked into a symphony.
Alfred Hill: String Quartet No. 10 in E major
IV. Finale: Allegro moderato
Alfred Hill: String Quartet No. 11 in D minor
I. Andantino - Lento - Allegro
Alfred Hill: Life Quintet
I. Grave - Allegro
II. Marche funebre
IV. Finale, "Gloria in excelsis Deo": Adagio maestoso - Allegro maestoso (version for voices and piano quintet)
“They have a lovely sound and a good ensemble, although occasionally show a tendency towards slower speeds than necessary...I can highly recommend the series, both for committed playing and as first documentation of an important part of the quartet repertoire.”