Britten String Quartets, Vol 2

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Benjamin Britten

Genre:

Chamber

Label: Naxos

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 8 554360

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Alla marcia Benjamin Britten Composer
Maggini Qt
Quartettino Maggini Qt
Benjamin Britten Composer
Simple Symphony Maggini Qt
Benjamin Britten Composer
String Quartet No. 3 Maggini Qt
Benjamin Britten Composer
This second volume of the Maggini Quartet’s Britten series amply fulfils the promise of the first (12/98). As before, the recording, made in St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay (near Newbury) favours blend and immediacy: the leading full-price alternative, recorded at Snape by the Sorrel Quartet for Chandos, has a richer atmosphere and a stronger sense of space, but, as interpretations, the Maggini’s versions need fear nothing from the current competition.
This view is confirmed in the major work here, the late Third Quartet. Here is a score whose extreme contrasts of mood and texture, ranging from rapt serenity to explosive bitterness, are the more difficult to make convincing for the extraordinary economy of means which the ailing Britten summoned up. Four years ago (7/95), in surveying the full field of recordings, from the original Amadeus version onwards, I concluded that it was the Endellion Quartet on the mid-price EMI British Composers label who offered the outstanding interpretation of the Third Quartet. With that version currently unavailable, the Maggini are hard to beat in the conviction they bring to all aspects of what is a notably well-focused, technically polished account. Their choice of basic tempos for the tricky outer movements is ideal, and they relish the elements of parody elsewhere without descending into caricature.
This disc also provides the only currently available version of the early but fascinatingly radical Quartettino. With other early works to come in Vol. 3, the Maggini also steal a march on the current competition by including the quartet version of the Simple Symphony, whose highlight is a genuinely sentimental sarabande. '

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