Magazine article Gramophone

Delius * Elgar: Delius String Quartet (with Alternative Versions of First Two Movts)

Magazine article Gramophone

Delius * Elgar: Delius String Quartet (with Alternative Versions of First Two Movts)

Article excerpt

Delius * Elgar

Delius String Quartet (with alternative versions of first two movts) Elgar String Quartet Villiers Quartet

Naxos (M) 8 573586 (7V * DDD)

Although it was well received at its November 1916 world premiere in London, Delius's String Quartet was promptly revised by the composer, who added a scherzo to its original three-movement scheme. Now the musicologist Daniel Grimley has fashioned performing versions of the opening Allegro moderato and slow movement (subtitled 'Late Swallows') in their initial guise. The latter is especially fascinating, its outer sections containing wholly different material, and whose poignant central portion here harks back more strongly than ever to that utterly magical episode at the heart of Delius's exquisite 1908 tone poem In a Summer Garden. Ripely captured by the microphones, the Villiers Quartet are on dedicated form and their reading of the work as we know it today is likewise a laudable one, if without quite the recreative spark, immaculate coordination and sheer authority of those distinguished versions from the Fitzwilliam Quartet (originally made for Decca L'Oiseau-Lyre and reissued on Australian Eloquence) or the Britten Quartet (Warner British Composers). …

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