Alwyn: String Quartets Nos. 10-13 Tippett Quartet
- William Alwyn (1905 - 1985): String Quartet No. 10 En voyage:
- 1I. Departure: Adagio e dolente05:20
- 2II. Sea Birds: Allegro vivace04:26
- 3III. The Lonely Waters: Adagio ma non troppo05:34
- 4IV. Trade Winds: Vivace03:27
- String Quartet No. 11 in B Minor:
- 5I. Andante ma non troppo - Allegro con brio - Andante10:12
- 6II. Andante e semplice04:22
- 7III. Moderato e quieto04:21
- String Quartet No. 12:
- String Quartet No. 13:
- 9I. Adagio e largamente e marcato07:13
- 10II. Allegro molto e vivace11:51
Info for Alwyn: String Quartets Nos. 10-13
As ever, SOMM and its artists are busy discovering new treasures in a wide range of repertoire and this month's CD release featuring first recordings of four of William Alwyn's early String Quartets with the celebrated Tippett Quartet, will come as a delightful surprise. Alwyn became Professor of Composition at London's Royal Academy of Music in 1926 at the age of 21, a position that he was to retain for almost 30 years. His large corpus of work comes close to 300 works which include music in all genres. His major orchestral works include five symphonies, and concertos for flute, oboe, violin, harp and piano and no less than 200 film scores. Alwyn began writing music for string quartet in 1920, when he produced his String Quartet in G minor at just fifteen years of age. The years 1923 to 1936 produced a further twelve string quartets (four of which feature on this disc), so fascinated was the composer with this “most intimate of mediums”, as he called it. The four string quartets included here contain some truly memorable and original ideas and have been unjustly neglected after receiving enthusiastic reviews at their respective premieres. Each of these quartets inhabit quite different sound worlds. No.10 (En voyage) is the most overtly romantic. Alwyn was an avid reader throughout his life and often found inspiration for his creative work as a composer from poetry or a novel he had just read that would suddenly fire his imagination. The single movement Fantasia (No. 12) is the most experimental of the four with Alwyn trying his hand at being more modern and contemporary with romanticism cast to one side for the moment. However, this was not to last as quartets 11 and 13 clearly demonstrate that Alwyn was and would always remain a romantic at heart.
For over a decade and a half, the celebrated Tippett Quartet has delighted critics and audiences alike with its animated, virtuosic performances and it’s inspired and attractive programming. They have performed at the BBC Proms, Cheltenham Festival, Snape Proms and numerous festivals throughout the UK and abroad, including tours of Europe, Canada and Mexico. The quartet regularly appears at Kings Place, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Bridgewater Hall and frequently performs on BBC Radio 3. Alongside a busy touring schedule, the Tippett Quartet pursues a keen interest in educational work with both schools and universities and was Ensemble in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University for 2012-13. In September 2015 they began an exciting new residency at Royal Holloway University, London.
Their broad and diverse repertoire highlights the Tippett Quartet’s unique versatility. They are equally at home with the giants of the classical world as they are with great Hollywood composers. Their impressive catalogue of over twenty releases have not only topped the classical charts but have also entered the pop charts and received universal critical acclaim. They have recorded for Naxos, EMI Classics, Signum, Classic FM, Guild, Real World, Dutton Epoch and Tocatta Classics. The quartet has given numerous world and UK premieres including works by John Adams, Howard Goodall and Stephen Dodgson. 2013 saw them rediscover Gustav Holst’s Fantasy on British Folk Songs which, with the help of the eminent musicologist Roderick Swanston, they were able to complete and give a world premiere on BBC Radio 3. They have also worked with Peter Maxwell-Davies for a performance of his 9th Quartet at the South Bank, with Anthony Payne on his Quartet No.1 for a live BBC broadcast from Spitalfields Festival, and Hugh Wood on his String Quartet No.3 at the Presteigne Festival.
They have had the great pleasure of collaborating with inspirational soloists such as Kathryn Stott, Craig Ogden, Stephanie Gonley, Lawrence Power, Melvin Tan, Nick Van Bloss, Julian Bliss and Ashley Wass. In 2011 they celebrated the anniversary of the iconic film composer Bernard Herrmann by commissioning an arrangement of Psycho and performing it alongside his clarinet quintet Souvenir de Voyages and Echoes in a series of concerts and radio broadcasts. They had the great pleasure of collaborating with Herrmann’s widow Norma Herrmann on many occasions.
The Tippett Quartet have also performed with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and have premiered a newly written film score for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 silent film classic The Lodger. In 2014 they started a collaboration with some of the UK’s finest Jazz musicians with the launch of their ‘Close To You’ project – a tribute to the album that Frank Sinatra made with the Hollywood String Quartet. In 2015 they are now continuing this collaboration with “Hollywood Romance” featuring singer and broadcaster Claire Martin OBE.