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Recorded: St Paul’s Church, New Southgate, London, 6, 10 & 13 May 2010
In recent years, and towards the end of his long life, Dutton Epoch has created gramophone history by issuing an extensive series of premiere recordings of the music of British composer Richard Arnell (1917-2009), including his seven symphonies, several concertos and ballets, other orchestral works and a CD of his chamber music. Every one of these releases has received considerable critical acclaim and commercial success. Arnell’s music – widely admired by such artists as Sir Thomas Beecham, Leopold Stokowski, Andor Foldes, John Ogdon and many other international figures – had, in its profoundly tonality-based language, fallen foul of the musical fashions regarding new music of the era extending from the late 1950s to the rise of post-minimalism, when Arnell's superbly conceived and original compositions were rediscovered for later generations, who have responded with notable enthusiasm. This new recording in our Arnell series contains the first five of his six string quartets. They are works that declare him to be one of the most significant British composers for the medium in the 20th century, and which drew from Hans Keller, no less, the comment that Arnell’s Fifth Quartet was “one of the extremely few genuine string quartets written by an outsider... Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Smetana and Schoenberg were in Arnell-like command of the genre’s textural variety and contrasts.” The performances by The Tippett Quartet are of the highest standards.
String Quartet no.1 op.4 (1939) Allegro vivace
String Quartet no.2 op.14 (1941) i. Allegro
String Quartet no.2 op.14 (1941) ii. Andante con moto
String Quartet no.2 op.14 (1941) iii. Presto con fuoco
String Quartet no.3 op.41 in E flat major (1945) i. Allegro vivace
String Quartet no.3 op.41 in E flat major (1945) ii. Lento non troppo
String Quartet no.3 op.41 in E flat major (1945) iii. Poco presto
String Quartet no.4 op.62 (1950) Allegro
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) i. Allegro maestoso
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) ii. Canon on four subjects with ground
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) iii.
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) iv. Solo (Lento)
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) v. Duo (Vivace)
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) vi. Trio (Moderato)
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) vii. Quartet finale (Allegro moderato)
“it's the remarkable Fifth Quartet from 1962 which leaves the most enduring impression...Suffice it to say,the Tippett Quartet perform with heaps of commitment and supreme technical accomplishment; indeeed it's hard to imagine this repertoire receiving more eloquent and understanding advocacy.”
“I am full of admiration for the obvious insight and sympathy that the members of the Tippett Quartet bring to expounding this virtually unknown music. They give these works everything they've got, playing as if trying to give the performance of their lives in some repertoire standard...they are unquestionably works that richly deserve a hearing, and whose neglect has been inexplicable.”