Stanford: Quartets Nos.1, 2 & 6 (vol. Iii)

Album cover art for upc 748871060722
Catalog: SOMMCD 0607
Format: CD

Dante Quartet

SOMM Recordings’ historic complete survey of Charles Villiers Stanford’s String Quartets by the Dante Quartet reaches its end with a third volume focusing on Nos. 1 and 2, and the first recording of No. 6. Already acclaimed as a composer of choral music, Stanford came relatively late to the string quartet form, composing his first two at the age of 39 in 1891. Six more followed over the next three decades, including the Op. 122 String Quartet, No. 6 in 1910. This final volume features the early String Quartets, Opp. 44 (No. 1) and 45 (No. 2) which share a concern for meticulous use of individual instrument voices and a leaning towards lyricism. Allusions to Beethoven and Mozart are contained within Stanford’s own beautifully crafted music. Heard here in its premiere recording, the Sixth String Quartet is a work of rich contrasts, restless energy and some of Stanford’s most expressive writing for the medium. Volume I (SOMMCD 0160) was admired as “an excellent disc in every respect” (MusicWeb International), applauded as “most enterprising and thoroughly likeable” (Classical Ear) and acclaimed “a really worthwhile release” (Gramophone). Volume II (SOMMCD 0185) was described as “essential listening... SOMM and the Dantes have broken important new ground with impressive commitment” by Gramophone and by Limelight as being “played with great élan and sensitivity by the excellent Dante Quartet”.

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