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RAWSTHORNE: String Quartets Nos. 1-3 / Theme and Variations

Composer(s):Rawsthorne, Alan
Artist(s) Maggini Quartet, Ensemble • Angel, David, violin • Jackson, Laurence, violin
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumental
Catalogue 8.570136
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Alan Rawsthorne’s three published String Quartets mark the progression of style and language at salient points during his compositional career. String Quartet No. 1 is an early example of Rawsthorne’s partiality for variation form. String Quartet No. 2 is more succinct and precise in expression and form, while the many-layered String Quartet No. 3, an austere work of unremitting intensity, is characteristic of the final period of Rawsthorne’s creative output.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The Maggini continue their survey of British quartets with this comprehensive recording of the three Quartets of Rawsthorne, plus the work which in many ways helped to spawn them, the Theme and Variation for Two Violins of 1937. What links all these works is Rawsthorne’s obsession with variation form, very clearly demonstrated in that early Duet. The First Quartet of 1939 similarly consists of a Theme and Variations, while the Second Quartet of 1954 concludes with a variation movement, and the Third Quartet of 1965 has a Chaconne as its darkest and most intense movement. Those last two works increasingly demonstrate the influence of Bartók without disturbing the distinctive clarity of Rawsthorne’s musical idiom. Ideal performances, vividly


Review By Scott Cantrell,The Dallas Morning News,November 2006

RESPECT, NEGLECT: The Englishman Alan Rawsthorne (1905-1971) belonged to the same generation as Shostakovich and Copland. But, lacking their "public" voices, he's more respected � notably by other composers � than performed, even in his homeland. But Naxos has been doing a nice job of honoring his centenary with recordings. A MUSICAL EVOLUTION: Rawsthorne's three published string quartets, beautifully written and intellectually engaging, bear comparison with the 20th century's best. The First (1939) suggests the influence of neoclassicism, not least in its theme-and-variations format. The Second (1954) and Third (1965) are more liquescent, and more harmonically piquant. An isolated phrase may remind you of Shostakovich or Bart�k, but Rawsthorne's voice really is his own,



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