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Cat. No. CHAN 9894 Price: Ł10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9894 - Elgar: String Quartet · Quintet
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Audio Sample

Available From: 12 March 2001
Depressed by the war and plagued by illness, Elgar longed in 1917 to leave London for the countryside, where he always felt happiest and most able to work. Lady Elgar found an isolated cottage, ‘Brinkwells’, in the heart of Sussex, surrounded by woods, which they rented for the summer. Immediately, Elgar began to compose chamber music, a form in which he had published nothing for thirty years. First he began to write a string quartet and then he wrote a violin sonata. On the day he completed the sonata, 15 September 1918, he began a piano quintet. Lady Elgar noted in her diary a fortnight later: ‘E. writing wonderful new music – real wood sounds and another lament, which should be in a War Symphony. In October he interrupted it to complete the string quartet he had begun seven months earlier.

Elgar had written and discarded several string quartets in his early years as a composer in Worcester. Nearly twenty years later he sketched some bars in E minor for string quartet; he much admired the celebrated Brodsky Quartet from Manchester, and he promised Adolph Brodsky he would write a work for them. He began the String Quartet in E minor on 25 March 1918, as we know form Lady Elgar’s diary: ‘A remote lovely 1st subject,’ she entered. He added no more until 8 October, by which time he had composed the Violin Sonata and begun the Piano Quintet. The Quartet was completed in December and dedicated to the Brodskys. The first public performance was given in London in May 1919 by a quartet led by Albert Sammons.

Elgar resumed work on the Piano Quintet in January 1919, finishing it in London later that month. The first public performance was in London in May of that year.

"The sorrel Quartet, perfectly matched by Ian Brown in the Piano Quintet, give exceptionally searching readings of these two late chamber works of Elgar ..."
The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

‘…the four musicians play absolutely as one, with compelling intensity and astute tonal colouring… This is an auspicious start to an awesome journey.’
The Daily Telegraph on CHAN 9741 (Shostakovich)

‘The performance of the Quartet No, 1 is both eloquent and imaginative, and the Chandos recording is ideal: clear and truthful.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9469 (Britten)

‘This is exciting playing of the highest order, always touchingly involved, and above all, deeply committed. I thoroughly recommend the disc’.
Elgar Society Journal

‘…the new disc is the one to have, a fine promise for more discs from an outstanding group.’

‘…the revelatory release is a strong contender for my next Want List, and I commend it to anyone with a taste for Romantic chamber music slightly off the beaten track.’

‘Genuinely involving and creative performances, superbly recorded and not to be missed.’
Classic CD on CHAN 9769 (Shostakovich)


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