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Buxton Orr, born in Glasgow in 1924, was for many years a respected teacher at the Guildhall School in London.
Very little of his music – which ranges from tuneful folksong settings to toughly argued twelve-tone compositions such as those here – has been heard since his death in 1997; these four works for strings are all first recordings.
Two of the four works here are performed by the musicians who commissioned them, and most were friends of the composer.
The music on this disc is tough and earnest but also lyrical and energetic and focuses attention on an important British composer whose music deserves more frequent.
Buxton Orr: String Quartet No. 1, "Refrains IV"
I. Arditamente (maestoso)
II. Allegro lirico
III. La croma subito piu mosso (Molto vivace)
IV. Liberamente (quasi cadenza)
V. Allegro energico
V. Tempo l'istesso
Buxton Orr: Duo for Baroque Violin and Double Bass
I. Quasi improvisando
II. Andante con moto
III. Subito allegro ritmico
Buxton Orr: String Trio
II. Andante Resoluto
III. Allegro vivace
Buxton Orr: String Quartet No. 2
I. Con moto
IV. Tema con variazioni: Larghetto con rubato
“The beautifully crafted music of Buxton Orr [1924-97] has been shockingly neglected...The tonal idiom is not likely to disconcert anyone who enjoys the Bartok quartets...Altogether an attractive collection of music that deserves to be better known, beautifully played and recorded.”