Scandinavian, North American & Australian
American composer Arthur Foote’s first string quartet was first performed 1883. It was praised for its ’warmth of feeling, directness of expression, simplicity of means, and clarity of structure’. His second string quartet contains influences of Tchaikovsky and Schumann. Foote’s third string quartet was premiered in 1912. It is a delightful piece with vivid changes of mood and tempo, daring harmonies and contrasting textures.
Ives’ two string quartets are contrasting in musical sources and content. The first quartet makes use of the revival and gospel hymns he loved so much, whereas his highly complex second quartet was described by Ives himself as ‘four men – who converse, discuss, argue ... fight, shake hands, shut up – then walk up the mountainside to view the firmament’.
Also included is a selection of delightful pieces by American emigrants of Jewish background, including Darius Milhaud.
Australian-born composer Alfred Hill studied at the Leipzig Conservatory where he met Brahms, Dvorák and Tchaikovsky. The influence of the latter two can be heard in his beautifully Romantic melodies and expressive harmonies. After his studies Hill settled in New Zealand where he made contact with Maori culture. He titled his first two string quartets ‘Maori’ and ‘A Maori Legend in Four Scenes’.
Some beautiful string quartets by Grieg and Nielsen as well as some Nordic rarities, including some contemporary pieces, complete this lovely package.