Britten / Purcell: String Quartets

Britten / Purcell: String Quartets cover
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Britten / Purcell: String Quartets
Doric String Quartet

[ Chandos / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 24 May 2019

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Founded in 1998 at Pro Corda, Suffolk, the multi-award-winning Doric String Quartet describes recording Britten's quartets as a significant milestone: 'In our recording we have endeavoured to tread a line that brings out the humanity in these works but also recognises the need for distance and fragility. This is very personal and intimate music, yet also world-encompassing and timeless.' The Quartet continues: 'Another feature of this recording is that Hélène Clément, our violist, is playing on Benjamin Britten's own viola. This instrument (on loan from the Britten-Pears Foundation) was made in 1843 in Milan by Francesco Guissani. It was previously owned by the composer Frank Bridge who gave it to Britten, as a departure gift when Britten and Pears set sail for the USA in 1939.' Hélène Clément writes: 'To be able to explore the music of Britten with the very sound that the composer had in his ears is the greatest honour and joy I could have imagined.'

"The performances are all superbly judged and controlled, balancing fragility with strength, restraint with great depth of feeling… The early Divertimenti, played with considerable wit and elegance, provide some much-needed contrast to the intensity of it all…This is a major cycle, engaging and profound in equal measure, and you need to hear it" Gramophone Editor's Choice May 2019

"Britten's final work, the G major quartet, Op 94 (completed, with the help of Colin Matthews, shortly before his death in 1976) a small but substantial contribution to the canon, comparable in its emotional intensity - certainly as played, electrifyingly, here by the Doric String Quartet - with Shostakovich's 15 works." Sunday Times

"The recordings, produced and engineered by Jonathan Cooper with assistance from Cheryl Jessop and Rosanne Fish, and edited by Cooper, are absolutely splendid, airy enough but with the cello line always audible in the Maltings acoustic" ClassicalSource


String Quartet No.1, Op.25 (1941)
Three Divertimenti (1933-36)
String Quartet No.3, Op.94 (1975)

Fantasias (1680)

String Quartet No.2, Op.36 (1945)

Doric String Quartet featuring Britten's own viola!