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Doric String Quartet – Britten & Purcell: Chamber Works for Strings (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Doric String Quartet – Britten & Purcell: Chamber Works for Strings (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:51:44 minutes | 1,91 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Chandos

Founded in 1998 at Pro Corda, Suffolk, the multi-award-winning Doric String Quartet describes recording Britten’s quartets as a significant milestone: ‘In our recording we have endeavoured to tread a line that brings out the humanity in these works but also recognises the need for distance and fragility. This is very personal and intimate music, yet also world-encompassing and timeless.’ The Quartet continues: ‘Another feature of this recording is that Hélène Clément, our violist, is playing on Benjamin Britten’s own viola. This instrument (on loan from the Britten-Pears Foundation) was made in 1843 in Milan by Francesco Guissani. It was previously owned by the composer Frank Bridge who gave it to Britten, as a departure gift when Britten and Pears set sail for the USA in 1939.’ Hélène Clément writes: ‘To be able to explore the music of Britten with the very sound that the composer had in his ears is the greatest honour and joy I could have imagined.’

Britten and Purcell: Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) declared that one of his principal aims in composing his opera Peter Grimes (1945) had been his desire ‘to try to restore to the musical setting of the English language a brilliance, freedom and vitality’ which he felt had been ‘curiously rare since Purcell’. His growing passion for the music of Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) at this time was part of a more general revival of interest in, and awareness of, the achievements of the English baroque composer, which was spearheaded by two musicologists and conductors: Jack Westrup in Oxford, and Anthony Lewis in Birmingham and at the BBC. Composers and performers were also vital contributors to this Purcell renaissance, notably Michael Tippett, who conducted performances of Purcell at Morley College in London during the 1940s, and the countertenor Alfred Deller, for whom Britten wrote Purcellian vocal lines in his opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960).

As was the case with Tippett, who realised songs by Purcell for modern performance and whose own compositional style was influenced by his example, the involvement of Britten with Purcell was reflected in both editorial and original projects. Britten began preparing realisations for voice and piano of Purcell’s songs in 1939, and his output of such arrangements – stimulated by the 250th anniversary of Purcell’s death – peaked in 1945, during which year he realised no fewer than fourteen songs, as well as paying creative homage to the composer in his String Quartet No. 2. He then took a theme from Purcell’s Abdelazar (1695) as the basis for his enduringly popular orchestral work The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1946). More song realisations would follow, including items from the collections Harmonia Sacra and Orpheus Britannicus, prepared in collaboration with his partner, the tenor Peter Pears. Britten also made an arrangement of Purcell’s Chacony in G minor (1948), which he liked to conduct on his concert tours: unashamedly dramatic in its vitality and dynamic contrasts, his arrangement is a vivid illustration of the excitement which the rediscovery of Purcell’s music generated….

1. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25: I. Andante sostenuto
2. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25: II. Allegretto con slancio
3. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25: III. Andante calmo
4. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25: IV. Molto vivace
5. 3 Divertimenti: I. March. Allegro maestoso
6. 3 Divertimenti: II. Waltz. Allegretto
7. 3 Divertimenti: III. Burlesque
8. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94: I. Duets. With Moderate Movement
9. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94: II. Ostinato. Very Fast
10. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94: III. Solo. Very Calm
11. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94: IV. Burlesque. Fast, con fuoco
12. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94: V. Recitative & Passacaglia (La serenissima)
1. Fantasy in F Major, Z. 737
2. Fantasy in C Minor, Z. 738
3. Fantasy in D Minor, Z. 739
4. Fantasy in A Minor, Z. 740
5. Fantasy in E Minor, Z. 741
6. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36: I. Allegro calmo senza rigore
7. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36: II. Vivace
8. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36: III. Chacony. Sostenuto


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