Walton: String Quartets Doric String Quartet
Subgenre: Chamber Music
Artist: Doric String Quartet
Composer: Sir William Walton (1902-1983)
Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)
- William Walton (1902 - 1983): String Quartet:
- 1Walton: String Quartet: I. Moderato07:54
- 2Walton: String Quartet: II. Scherzo. Allegro molto vivace, e ritmico11:32
- 3Walton: String Quartet: III. Fuga. Lento, ma non troppo, e molto espressivo15:58
- String Quartet in A Minor:
- 4Walton: String Quartet in A Minor: I. Allegro - A tempo più mosso09:37
- 5Walton: String Quartet in A Minor: II. Presto04:22
- 6Walton: String Quartet in A Minor: III. Lento - A tempo poco più mosso08:26
- 7Walton: String Quartet in A Minor: IV. Allegro molto - - Poco a poco più animato04:20
Info for Walton: String Quartets
This new release represents one of the comparatively rare recordings of the highly attractive string quartets by William Walton, one of England’s finest composers. The works are performed by the Doric String Quartet, exclusive Chandos artists and among the youngest and most impressive quartets on the classical music scene today. Their recent release, of the string quartets by Korngold (CHAN 10611), was given ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone.
Walton’s two string quartets, written about a quarter of a century apart, are barely recognisable as the work of the same composer. The String Quartet of 1922, an extraordinarily ambitious work in terms of scale and technical demands, was written when Walton was in his late teens. The familiar Quartet in A minor is a work of Walton’s maturity, more compact in form, conservative in language, and relaxed in tone.
When first performed, the String Quartet of 1922 was met with a lukewarm response, which led Walton to withdraw it and to make several substantial cuts to the material. When the work was revived, a few years after his death, for performances and recordings – including its premiere recording, on Chandos (CHAN 8944, Gabrieli String Quartet) – these cuts were kept. This particular recording, however, offers the full-length and original version, as edited by Hugh MacDonald in 2008 for Oxford University Press’s William Walton Edition. Significantly, this quartet is for the most part conspicuously lacking in the Stravinskyan constant changes of time signature, which are such a prominent feature of the later works by Walton. In the composer’s own words, this work is ‘full of undigested Bartók and Schoenberg’.
It seems to have been in the late 1930s that Walton first agreed to write the String Quartet in A minor for the Bleech Quartet (led by Harry Bleech who later became the founding conductor of the London Mozart Players). But during the Second World War other projects intervened, mainly scores for war-time propaganda films, and it was not until late 1944 that Walton started work on the quartet. The return to the string quartet genre did not come easily to Walton. As he wrote to a friend in 1945, ‘I’m in a suicidal struggle with four strings and am making no headway whatsoever. Brick walls, slit trenches… I’m afraid I’ve done film music for too long’.
Despite his initial difficulty, the work gradually took shape, and Walton wrote to the same friend a short time later that he had ‘captured a trench’ and ‘overcome some barbed wire entanglements’. The String Quartet in A minor was completed in time for its successful premiere in 1947 by the Bleech Quartet in a chamber concert on the BBC’s new Third Programme.
"The Doric gives outstanding, virtuoso performances of William Walton’s two string quartets. The first of them, formidable in its technical demands and harmonic language, is virtually unrecognisable from the Walton of maturity, embracing as it does the avant-garde ideas he flirted with in his youth. Walton said it was “full of undigested Bartók and Schoenberg”, but, when played with such panache, it provides a pungent contrast to the clarity and spry rhythmic sparring of the later A minor Quartet."(Geoffrey Norris, The Independent)
Doric String Quartet
The Doric String Quartet is now firmly established as one of the outstanding quartets of their generation. In 2008 they won 1st prize in the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, 2nd prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in Italy, where they also received a special mention for their performance of Haydn, and the Ensemble Prize at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.
Now in its 12th season highlights over the last year have included a critically acclaimed Haydn evening at Wigmore Hall broadcast by BBC Radio 3, debut recitals in Paris (Auditorium du Louvre), Milan and Frankfurt, and visits to the Schwetzinger, Florestan, Isle of Man and East Neuk Festivals. Further afield the Quartet toured throughout Japan and returned to Israel and South East Asia. They have collaborated with Mark Padmore, Chen Halevi, Julius Drake, Piers Lane, Melvyn Tan, the Leopold String Trio and Florestan Trio.
During 2009/10 the Quartet return to Wigmore Hall four times, as Quartet and in recitals with Philip Langridge, Andrew Kennedy (for a world premiere) and Alasdair Beatson. Future engagements include recitals at the Konzerthaus in Berlin and in Lucerne, Brussels and Hamburg, return visits to Israel and Italy, and debut concerts in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and the USA.
In November the Doric’s first commercial CD is released on the Wigmore Hall Live label of their Haydn concert at Wigmore Hall on 15 January 2009 and in 2010 they record their first CD for Chandos as part of a long-term collaboration.
Formed in 1998 at Pro Corda, The National School for Young Chamber Music Players, in Suffolk, from 2002 the Doric String Quartet studied on the Paris-based ProQuartet Professional Training Program, where they worked with members of the Alban Berg, Artemis, Hagen and LaSalle Quartets and with Gyorgy Kurtag. The Quartet continue to work with Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) at the Music Academy in Basel.
In 2000 the Doric String Quartet won the inaugural Bristol Millennium Chamber Music Competition which led to a seven year residency at the Wiltshire Music Centre combining a concerts series with education work across the region. They continue this relationship as ‘Artists in Association’. The Quartet went on to give recitals at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall under the auspices of the Park Lane Group, appeared at the ORF (Austrian Radio) Funkhaus in Vienna in 2003 and made their Edinburgh Festival debut in 2006.
Alex Redington and Jonathan Stone completed their postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in 2005 where they studied with Howard Davis. Simon Tandree studied in Saarbrücken and Detmold with Dietmut Poppen. John Myerscough graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge in 2003 and is now a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studies with Louise Hopkins.
The Doric String Quartet acknowledges the generous support of an Anonymous Foundation.