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Britten - The Music for String Quartet

Composer Benjamin Britten
Performer Emperor String Quartet
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2640 SACD
EAN 7381599926407
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

  –  3 discs
Release date Jul 2022
Total time 200'10

3 SACDs for the price of 2
Album release: 1st July 2022

Between 2010 and 2014, the British Emperor Quartet released the three discs gathered here, with all of Benjamin Britten’s published music for string quartet – as well as his one work for string quintet, the Phantasy in F minor. Their performances of the three numbered quartets, undisputed masterpieces of 20th-century chamber music, were variously described by the critics as ‘stupendous’ (Classic FM Magazine), ‘a wonderful homage’ (Ensemble), and ‘a complete cosmos of colours and nuances’ (Fono Forum), and the discs received top marks and distinctions in magazines such as Fanfare, Diapason and International Record Review.

Britten wrote his String Quartets Nos 1, 2 and 3 in 1941, 1945 and 1975 respectively, but his natural facility in writing for strings was evident from a very early age. The Emperor’s set includes a number of youthful works, from the String Quartet in F, by a fourteen-year old schoolboy, to Simple Symphony, composed in 1934 and the work which may be regarded as his breakthrough. The box set includes the original booklets, with insightful liner notes by Britten specialist Arnold Whittall.
 
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Disc 1
 
  Benjamin Britten
  String Quartet No.2 in C major, Op.36 31'20
01 I. Allegro calmo senza rigore 8'37
02 II. Vivace 3'37
03 III. Chacony 19'06
 
  Three Divertimenti for String Quartet (1936) 10'28
04 I. March 3'45
05 II. Waltz 3'12
06 III. Burlesque 3'31
 
  Miniature Suite (1929) 10'18
07 I. Novelette 2'59
08 II. Menuetto 3'10
09 III. Romanza 1'58
10 IV. Gavotte 2'11
 
  String Quartet in D major (1931/74) 19'41
11 I. Allegro maestoso 8'58
12 II. Lento ed espressivo 5'26
13 III. Allegro giocoso 5'17
 
 
Disc 2
  String Quartet No.1 in D major, Op.25 25'55
01 I. Andante sostenuto - Allegro vivo 8'36
02 II. Allegretto con slancio 3'01
03 III. Andante calmo 10'17
04 IV. Molto vivace 4'01
 
05 Alla Marcia (1933) 3'26
 
  String Quartet No.3, Op.94 26'15
06 I. Duets. With moderate movement 5'25
07 II. Ostinato. Very fast 3'08
08 III. Solo. Very calm 5'37
09 IV. Burlesque. Fast, con fuoco - Quasi ‘Trio' - (‘Maggiore') 2'17
10 V. Recitative and Passacaglia (La Serenissima). Slow - Slowly moving 9'48
 
 
Disc 3
  Simple Symphony, Op.4 16'02
01 I. Boisterous Bourrée 2'56
02 II. Playful Pizzicato 3'13
03 III. Sentimental Saraband 6'43
04 IV. Frolicsome Finale 3'10
 
05 Rhapsody (1929) 7'42
 
  Quartettino (1930) 16'36
06 I. Andante 6'21
07 II. Poco adagio ma con moto 6'35
08 III. Allegro molto vivace 3'40
 
09 Phantasy in F minor for string quintet (1932) 11'18
 
  String Quartet in F (1928) 22'54
10 I. Allegro vivace e con brio 8'42
11 II. Andante 2'58
12 III. Allegro vivace 4'26
13 IV. Allegro molto 6'48
 
  Album total 200'10
String quartetEmperor String Quartet
ComposerBritten, Benjamin

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