Elgar / Arnold / Simpson - String Quartets arranged for String Orchestra | Somm SOMMCD0145

Elgar / Arnold / Simpson - String Quartets arranged for String Orchestra


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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD0145

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 2nd March 2015



This release from Somm, recorded in March 2014 with the Orchestra of St Paul's under its Artistic Director Ben Palmer, brings together the premiŤre recordings of three works for string quartet in magnificent versions for string orchestra.

Elgar's glorious String Quartet and Malcolm Arnold's String Quartet No.2 (here recast as Sonata for Strings) are performed here in transcriptions by renowned composer David Matthews. Robert Simpson's thrilling Allegro deciso, the finale of his String Quartet No.3, is heard in the composer's own arrangement for strings.

Elgar's only String Quartet was begun in London in March 1918 and finished at his Sussex cottage by Christmas. He began writing the delicate central Piacevole movement on his wife Alice's birthday, 9th October. She described it as "like captured sunshine" and asked to have it played at her funeral.

Malcolm Arnold's String Quartet No.2, his final work in the genre, was completed in Dublin in 1975 and premiered the following year in Dublin by the Allegri Quartet. Its dedicatee was Hugh Maguire, the quartet's first violin, himself an Irishman, and after a short violin cadenza the quartet's second movement takes the form of an Irish Reel. A deeply personal work and thrillingly intense, it revels in uncompromising juxtapositions between bleak despair and the most heart-melting beautiful melodies imaginable.

Robert Simpson's orchestration of the finale to his own String Quartet No.3 was made in 1953/54 at the suggestion of the composer and conductor Walter Goehr. The quartet is unusual in being cast in just two movements, a lamenting Adagio in C major and the pulsating energy of the E minor Allegro deciso, made even more powerful by the weight of a full string section.

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