ELGAR; ARNOLD; SIMPSON Quartets Arranged for Strings

Author: 
Andrew Achenbach
SOMMCD0145. ELGAR; ARNOLD; SIMPSON Quartets Arranged for StringsELGAR; ARNOLD; SIMPSON Quartets Arranged for Strings

ELGAR; ARNOLD; SIMPSON Quartets Arranged for Strings

  • String Quartet arr. for Strings
  • Sonata for Strings, after String Quartet No 2
  • String Quartet No. 3, Allegro Deciso

In 2004 David Matthews made an arrangement for string orchestra of the wonderfully tender and fragrantly poetic Piacevole centrepiece from Elgar’s Op 83 String Quartet. George Vass conducted the successful premiere at the Hampstead and Highgate Festival, after which he urged Matthews to rework the outer movements as well. Six years later, Vass’s Presteigne Festival Orchestra was able to give the first performance of Matthews’s sensitive and stylish treatment in its entirety. Even more compelling, I think, is the same composer’s 2005 recasting, as a Sonata for Strings, of Malcolm Arnold’s Second String Quartet from 1975. Dedicated to the Irish violinist Hugh Maguire (then leader of the Allegri Quartet), it dates from Arnold’s turbulent Dublin years; its elements of gritty dialogue, skittish mood-swings (the second movement juxtaposes a deeply felt soliloquy for first violin with an Irish reel that soon turns nasty) and hard-won serenity seem to have acquired an even greater intensity in this new garb.

Robert Simpson’s string-orchestra arrangement of the substantial finale from his own two-movement Third Quartet (1953 54) was prompted by the conductor Walter Goehr and strikes me as another success. Simpson thought of his first three string quartets as a trilogy, and this mighty Allegro deciso shows the composer at his early peak – music of tremendous eloquence, awesome rigour and kinetic force. Here, as elsewhere, Ben Palmer elicits an agreeably spruce and consistently alert response from the 16 string players of the Orchestra of St Paul’s, while Ben Connellan’s sound is pleasingly transparent and airy to match. All told, a stimulating and laudable release.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017