Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively
AmazonUK

 

Northern Lights – British String Quartets
John CASKEN (b.1949)
String Quartet No.2 (1993 revised 1996) [21:16]
Judith WEIR (b.1954)
String Quartet (1990) [13:10]
Robert SAXTON (b.1953)
Songs, Dances and Ellipses (1997 revised 1998) [28:04]
Kreutzer Quartet
rec. St John’s Church, Loughton, Essex January 2002 (Casken); September 2000 (Weir) and December 1999 (Saxton)
METIER MSV28507 [63:02]
Experience Classicsonline


These three British composers were born within half a decade in the years between 1949 and 1954. The disc’s title is a fetching though not wholly appropriate one on which to peg the three quartets. Best to listen to them without worrying about  ‘Northernness’ or matters astronomical, though the last does play a part in the Saxton.

John Casken wrote his Second Quartet in 1993 and it was revised three years later. It’s cast in four movements each one bearing an indication such as ‘with piquant verve’ or ‘with haunted fascination’. I suppose it’s up the interpreters to convey ‘piquancy’ with the requisite relish. In fact the Kreutzer Quartet has been solidly coached by the composer so are in a better position than most to transit his wishes. The first movement oscillates between firefly vivacity and a more mellow lyrical-expressive line. The second movement is a scherzo of ‘jazzy obstinacy’ – make of that what you will - whilst the third is a slow movement of considerable post-impressiontic colour and reflective and refractive intimacy, one lit by little flurries. Ravel-like pizzicati animate the finale, full of vibrancy, but towards the end stronger, more personal intimations intrude and the work ends in slight ambiguity.

I was aware of Judith Weir’s 1990 Quartet from The Cold Dancer - Contemporary String Quartets from Scotland on Delphian DCD34038 where it was coupled with works by James Clapperton, Kenneth Dempster and William Sweeney. It’s also on Genuin GEN86065 adventurously coupled with Elgar and Maxwell Davies, so it’s something of a disc veteran by now. It pushes for what Weir calls “on the string” lyricism. Each of the three movements is based on a Spanish romance (first two) and a Scottish ballad (for the finale). The writing has her accustomed grace and generosity – in the central movement it also embraces earthier, vocalised beauties of its own. It sounds very rewarding to play. My recollection is that the Delphian performance was just a tad more austere than the Kreutzer, and the latter group certainly enjoys the folkloric second in particular where the rhythmic energy is palpable.

Finally we have Songs, Dances and Ellipses by Robert Saxton, written in 1997 and revised the following year. Once again, as with the Casken, the composer supervised the recording session. This work has five movements though moves sinuously in one span. It opens in Mahlerian midst with tension increasing, moving to a tempestuous but still austere second section, marked ‘light, dancing’. The heart of the work is the long, ten-minute third movement – a spacious stasis that grips and doesn’t let go. There’s a scherzo-like incisiveness to the succeeding movement and a driving then winding-down energy to the finale.

There are some good, helpful notes and the sound quality in a church that’s almost down my road (pure coincidence) is first class. These recordings have been on the shelf for a long time; they were recorded between 1999 and 2002. Well done to Metier for giving them the oxygen of publicity.

Jonathan Woolf 

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.