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Mason: String Quartet, Etc / Arditti Quartet, Et Al

Release Date: 03/22/1994 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9045   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benedict Mason
Performer:  David AlbermanIrvine ArdittiGarth KnoxRohan de Saram,   ... 
Conductor:  Diego MassonIngo Metzmacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String QuartetLondon SinfoniettaEnsemble Modern
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here are three contrasting pieces from one of the most skilled and individual of modern British composers. Full of memories of and allusions to other music, Benedict Mason’s 1987 String Quartet is equally rich in its own newly imagined combinations. ‘Conceived as a travelogue in five parts’, it impresses more as a mosaic of tiny and extraordinarily diverse sections. In the wrong hands the approach could lead to dire results, but the delicacy and insubstantiality of Mason’s inventions give them a genuine if intangible beauty; this is playful but never foolish music. Throughout, as in the sparky 1989 brass concerto, Mason shows a fine sense of instrumental capabilities: everything works well. In spirit, something of Walton’s élan Read more combines with an Ivesian feeling for adventure and a neo-Romantic glamour (though without the clichés). The result has a wonderful sense of the comic. With their insect noises, onomatopoeia, wordplay and Lewis Carroll references, the songs (to Mason’s own texts) show him indulging his cultural-collector’s instincts to the full. Too many in-jokes, perhaps? Christine Whittlesey is nevertheless a vivid interpreter. The playing of all three ensembles is splendid, the sound generally excellent.

-- George Hall, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 1 by Benedict Mason
Performer:  David Alberman (Violin), Irvine Arditti (Violin), Garth Knox (Viola),
Rohan de Saram (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Saarländischer Rundfunk, Saarbrucken 
Length: 36 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Concerto for Horn and Trombone "Double" by Benedict Mason
Performer:  Michael Thompson (French Horn), David Purser (Trombone)
Conductor:  Diego Masson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; England 
Date of Recording: 03/22/1992 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham 
Length: 19 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Self-Referential Songs and Realistic Virelais by Benedict Mason
Performer:  Christine Whittlesey (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ingo Metzmacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; England 
Date of Recording: 12/09/1990 
Venue:  Live  Alte Oper, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 

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