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Alwyn: String Quartet No 3, Rhapsody For Piano Quartet

Release Date: 09/14/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 8440   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Alwyn
Performer:  David Willison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartet of LondonQuartet of London members
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

David Willison and his string colleagues convey the strength and beauty of the music with the utmost conviction.

Alwyn's representation in the catalogue is growing; the present LP fits happily into the representation in that none of the three works recorded is otherwise available, They make a wellchosen programme, too, in that the three pieces are not only for different instrumental combinations, but also come from three different periods of Alwyn's composing life.

The earliest of them is the Rhapsody for Piano Quartet, showing Alwyn in his thirties: a strong, alert composer, writing somewhat heavily for his chosen medium (if you like the piano quartets of Brahms you will not mind that!), but conveying in
Read more the process a distinct degree of excitement.

From Alwyn's fifties comes the String Trio: lighter in texture now, and very well laid out indeed for the difficult medium. At this time Alwyn was pursuing the notion of using short note-rows as textural devices. He does so here in three movements; in the opening movement, however, he uses a longer row (indeed, the longest possible, according to the serialists, including all twelve notes). I have hesitated, though, before using serial language; for such use runs the risk of suggesting that Alwyn adopts the rest of the serialists' various dogmas. Emphatically he does not, but constructs tonally-based music not at all based on scientific fallacies, but on human feelings. And very effectively; there are passages of great beauty in this Trio.

And finally Alwyn in his seventies (in fact not long before his death) is represented by his Third String Quartet, at some remove in most respects from the earlier Rhapsody; and indeed in several passages somewhat elegiac, reflecting the dedication of the work to the memory of an old friend of the composer's. The maturity and substance of the quartet make it a fitting epilogue (in a sense) to the programme as a whole.

David Willison and his string colleagues convey the strength and beauty of the music with the utmost conviction, and are given recorded quality of the first order. Production further extends, happily, to the reproduction of one of Alwyn's own paintings on the sleeve.

-- Gramophone [12/1985, reviewing the original LP release]
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 3 by William Alwyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartet of London
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; England 
Trio for Strings by William Alwyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartet of London members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
Rhapsody for Piano Quartet by William Alwyn
Performer:  David Willison (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartet of London members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 

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