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Bax: String Quartets No 1 & 2 / Maggini String Quartet


Release Date: 01/15/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8555282   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arnold Bax
Performer:  Laurence JacksonDavid AngelMartin OutramMichal Kaznowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Arnold Bax's chamber music has been largely overshadowed today by his newly popular orchestral works, and in some instances, such as the first of his eminently fine string quartets, all but forgotten. Quartet No. 1 draws deeply on the grand quartet heritage of the 19th century, most notably Dvorák, whose Quartet No. 11 sounds to have been a model for Bax, so similar are their opening themes (not to mention Bax's use of a pentatonic scale in the secondary material). The central slow movement prefigures Bax's later luxuriantly atmospheric style with its languorous main theme supported by his trademark descending chromatic counterpoint. The finale, a self-styled jig on a popular Irish tune, brings the work to an upbeat and bright Read more conclusion.


Quartet No. 2 is a tougher nut, and thus did not achieve the initial popularity of its predecessor. The opening movement's angular contortions give way to secondary material of a more lyrical stripe; however, it's not until the second movement that you find the expected Baxian lushness--and even here you can't get too comfortable, for sharp edges lurk in the shadows. A determined optimism characterizes the hard-dancing finale, which features two fugato passages before ending in a brilliant coda. Both quartets are important contributions to the repertoire, something made abundantly clear by the Maggini Quartet's masterful, deeply felt, and finely executed readings. The ensemble's burning conviction will make you a believer too, especially in this beautifully engineered production from Naxos.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in G major by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Laurence Jackson (Violin), David Angel (Violin), Martin Outram (Viola),
Michal Kaznowski (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 23 Minutes 33 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in E minor by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Laurence Jackson (Violin), David Angel (Violin), Martin Outram (Viola),
Michal Kaznowski (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maggini String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; England 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 30 Minutes 27 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 An Unexpected Delight April 21, 2012 By Robert L. (Springfield, OH) See All My Reviews "I had found some of Bax's orchestral music only mildly interesting. However, both of these quartets are far more engaging. The Maggini Quartet, which changed personnel subsequently, here plays very well. The first quartet sounds somewhat like Dvorak, but with an Anglo-Irish accent. The second quartet is bit more astringent, but only a bit. Five stars for the works and the performances." Report Abuse
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