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Hyperion Records

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The Heart of the Rose (1902) by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh (1865-1933)
Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67927
Recording details: June 2011
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: May 2012
Total duration: 26 minutes 23 seconds

'Here, most valuably, we have three of Harty's important chamber works … Piers Lane plays immaculately with great sympathy … and the Goldner Quartet play warmly to bring out the finest qualities of the music. Altogether a delightful disc of music neglected for far too long' (Gramophone)

'The Goldner String Quartet, joined in the Quintet by Piers Lane, displays just the right warmth and spirit to suit this attractive music … Hyperion's succulent recording is a peach' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Harty's melodies are appealing and graceful, the counterpoint is never overwrought … song-like passages intervene in the Scherzo [of the Second Quartet], and there is more Romantic song in the third movement, at one point most exquisitely decorated by one violin while the other sustains the song … [the Piano Quartet] is a joy to hear, in a performance that is compelling from first to last … I welcome this release with enthusiasm: no-one could fail to enjoy it' (International Record Review)

'Piers Lane anime les franches carrures du quintette au brio, les excellents Goldner jouant d'abord la finesse de leurs archets, sonnant clairs, sans aucune dureté. Les paysages se dessinent, la lyrique tendre du compositeur s'épanouit' (Diapason, France)

String Quartet No 2 in A minor, Op 5
composer
1902

Lento  [7'03]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Harty’s String Quartet No 2 in A minor, Op 5, was composed after he moved to London in March 1901. There he rapidly became the capital’s leading accompanist and was in considerable demand by the most prominent soloists of the day, among them Fritz Kreisler, Harry Plunket Greene and Agnes Nicholls (whom he married in 1904). Like the first Quartet, the second was a prizewinner, this time for the Dublin Feis of 1902 where it was successfully premiered on 8 May. Harty was in the audience to hear it played by his friends from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Arthur Darley, P J Griffith, Octave Grisard and Henri Bast. Its second and last hearing was given by four prominent London musicians, Alfred Gibson, Juliet Capron, Alfred Hobday and Helen Trust, on 22 December 1902 at Copped Hall, Totteridge, Hertfordshire, the home of Sir Harold Edwin Boulton, an amateur poet and music-lover.

Revealing a marked advance on the first Quartet, this work, featuring a prominent ‘autobiographical’ viola part, is at once more fluent. The first movement evinces a greater sense of technical mastery of the quartet idiom, a feature, in fact, common to all four movements. The lilting ‘hop jig’ scherzo in 9/8, fertile in its dexterous manipulation of the hemiola, acts as a more vivid contrast with its trio in 2/4, while the slow movement imparts a more convincing sense of balance than its earlier counterpart in the first Quartet, as well as an intensely lyrical and more personal emotionalism at the climax. The imaginative finale, full of rhythmical élan, exhibits perhaps the most intricate writing for the quartet in the whole work, and the more embellished use of the slow movement’s second subject as secondary material is an effective cyclic touch. The appearance of this material in the unexpected and unconventional area of the subdominant reflects Esposito’s influence, but the most unusual introduction of new material—a chorale-like theme in F sharp minor—in the development and the much-truncated recapitulation reveal an entirely maverick streak of Harty’s personality which had been anticipated in the corresponding movement of the F major Quartet.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2012

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