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Hyperion Records

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A Winter Landscape by Christopher Richard Wayne Nevinson (1889-1946)
Track(s) taken from CDH55218
Recording details: December 1993
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Gary Cole
Engineered by Gary Cole
Release date: July 1994
Total duration: 29 minutes 7 seconds

'Eloquent and sensitive performances of some of the finest British chamber works of our century' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Outstandingly beautiful playing … of beguiling sensitivity and exhilaration' (CDReview)

'This was always a fine recording, and to have it in such great sonic shape again for a reasonable outlay is a double blessing indeed. This is music of rich evocation, provocatively played here … we are lucky to have this superb reading by the Coull, who have this music in their blood … the sound is top grade Hyperion, and the program fills a huge gap in the discography' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

String Quartet in E minor, Op 83
begun summer 1918, completed Christmas Eve the same year; first public performance given by Albert Sammons, WH Reed, Raymond Jeremy and Felix Salmond at Wigmore Hall on 21 May 1919

Allegro molto  [9'59]

Other recordings available for download
Goldner String Quartet
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The mood of the String Quartet in E minor Op 83 is wry, the sharp rhythmic gestures at odds with the hollow, irresolute harmonies. The first movement is intricate, with subtle internal cross-references. The tonality is fluid. The first two bars are in E minor but rise to a D natural, giving a modal flavour. Elgar often avoids root-position chords, and relates keys by minor thirds rather than by more conventional fifths. The second subject sounds smooth and lyrical but its rhythm turns out to be an expansion of the jerky first subject. When it is developed the viola has it between soaring violin and plunging cello. Recapitulated, it becomes sad and inarticulate, broken by rests. It is extraordinary that this highly strung music should flow so spontaneously. There is a coming to terms with life here, an experienced but undogmatic voice.

The second movement sounds artless. Piacevole, Elgar directed it—‘agreeable, pleasant’. Elgar’s wife likened it to ‘captured sunshine’: perhaps the long spells of drowsy repetitions against pedal points made her think of the ‘sound of bees and insects on a hot summer’s afternoon’. But there are also stabs of pain, and the sound, though sweet, is thin, often in only three parts, sprinkled with harmonics and finally muted. This sunshine is fitful and autumnal.

Lady Elgar wrote that the finale is ‘most fiery & sweeps along like Galloping of Squadrons’. The thrust and resolution of the opening justify that description, as does the breadth of the ending. The second subject allows some relaxation, but a phrase from it is then vigorously propelled, so bringing together the motoric power of the first subject and the lyricism of the second.

from notes by Diana McVeagh © 2011

Other albums featuring this work
'Elgar: Piano Quintet & String Quartet' (CDA67857)
Elgar: Piano Quintet & String Quartet

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