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Rawsthorne: String Quartets, Etc / Maggini Quartet

Release Date: 10/31/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570136   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alan Rawsthorne
Performer:  Laurence JacksonDavid Angel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Naxos has been doing Alan Rawsthorne (1905–1971) proud. An English composer who might have become a dentist, and who studied the piano with Egon Petri in Poland and Germany, Rawsthorne’s music is gritty, concentrated, and very communicative in its edge.

The two violinists of the Maggini Quartet give a very assured account of Theme and Variations (1937), spellbinding music of wide range: lyrical, intense, fiery, and mercurial. Rawsthorne’s String Quartet No. 1 (1939) is also cast as a theme and variations; once more this is music that compels, is beautifully worked out, and is compact while spawning much over its 10 minutes.

The other quartets, from 1954 and 1965, are just as concise, in four and three movements,
Read more respectively—at least, Naxos supplies three cue points for No. 3—although the composer himself informs us that No. 3 is in “two main sections, each of these being divided into several sub-sections.” Rawsthorne’s introductions, presumably written for the first performances of each work, are helpfully reproduced in Naxos’s booklet. Both works dig deep into emotional states as well as being formally attractive. There’s real heart, here, and genuine craftsmanship, searching and voluble, the musical language extended as each work is reached in terms of the composer’s chronology while retaining a passionate outreach for the listener to climb aboard. If I suggest that admirers of Bartók and Hindemith will be on home ground here, I also want to stress that Rawsthorne is very much his own man, expressing himself deeply through music.

Wonderfully well played by the Maggini Quartet, and rendered with a conviction that suggests Rawsthorne’s music is standard repertoire for these musicians, this is an outstanding release that is further blessed by sound that is tangible and truthful. Please don’t miss what I believe to be really significant pieces.

FANFARE: Colin Anderson
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Works on This Recording

Theme and Variations for 2 Violins by Alan Rawsthorne
Performer:  Laurence Jackson (Violin), David Angel (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/13/2005 - 12/15/2005) 
Quartet for Strings no 1 "Theme and Variations" by Alan Rawsthorne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/13/2005 - 12/15/2005) 
Quartet for Strings no 2 by Alan Rawsthorne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/13/2005 - 12/15/2005) 
Quartet for Strings no 3 by Alan Rawsthorne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/13/2005 - 12/15/2005) 

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