Richard ARNELL (1917-2009)
String Quartet no.1 op.4 (1939) [9:01]
String Quartet no.2 op.14 (1941) [13:16]
String Quartet no.3 op.41 in E flat major (1945) [18:28]
String Quartet no.4 op.62 (1950) [9:49]
String Quartet no.5 op.99 (1962) [14:07]
The Tippett Quartet (John Mills (violin); Jeremy Isaac (violin); Julia O'Riordan
(viola); Bozidar Vukotic (cello))
rec. St Paul’s Church, New Southgate, London, 6, 10, 13 May 2010
World premiere recordings
DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7268 [65:33]
Having recorded all Arnell's symphonies Dutton now minister to the string
quartets. They here emerge in their world premiere recordings - definitive
too as were Dutton's nine other Arnell discs. These works date from between
1939 and 1962.
The overture length First Quartets evinces utter confidence in an idiom
that is densely and warmly melodic - a little like a mediation between early
Fauré and early Tippett. The 1941 Second Quartet is in three movements
and was premiered in New Jersey. It is rife with Tippett-like triggers and
releases of lyrical current. Once again the milieu is warm and affluently
stocked with ideas. No sign of dissonance but in the finale there is a fervent
Beethovenian propulsion to the progress and shape of the music.
The Third was written in the USA but waited until 1949 before being
premiered by the Blech Quartet - typically for Arnell, at the Cheltenham Festival.
Again it's a work of potent lyrical release with no hint of 12 tone material
- not even a slight Bergian pepper. The finale occasionally suggests an affection
for Bartók. The Fourth Quartet is from 1950. Again it is about the
length of a concert overture and is in one span. It immerses itself in real
tunes and knows how to present and develop them with a blazing and enthusing
The Fifth Quartet is in seven movements and runs to around quarter
of an hour. Robert Matthew-Walker writes in his useful liner-note that this
1952 work is an extraordinary structural premonition of Britten's Third Quartet
on 1975. It is more sombre than its predecessors though just as fervent. The
melodic element is still present though soused in a troubled harmonic world
typical of late Shostakovich.
This disc presents a powerful cycle of string quartets in powerfully projected
and acted performances and recordings. The recording balance here is nothing
short of red-blooded.
World premiere recordings - definitive too. An impressive cycle of string
quartets in powerfully projected and acted performances and recordings.