Delius, Elgar: String Quartets CD review – zest and passion

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the Villiers Quartet

Fiona Maddocks writes:

Elgar’s only string quartet, a masterpiece of the chamber music repertoire premiered in 1918, is well established. That of his contemporary Delius, dating from a year earlier, is more of a rarity. The composer was discontented with his first (three-movement) attempt and reworked the opening movement and the wistful “Late Swallows” slow movement.

Both versions are included here, each characterised by boundless melody, unexpected major-minor shifts and rhythmic buoyancy. The Villiers Quartet, formed in 2011 and specialists in English music (among other things; they are an inquisitive ensemble), play the Delius with zest and passion. Their Elgar, too, is febrile and bold. Fresh playing all round, at budget price.

 

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