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Bliss, Britten etc

Bliss: String Quartet No. 2 in F minor
Britten: String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36 Delius: Late Swallows Purcell: Chacony

Barbirolli Quartet

Nimbus Alliance NI6165

A worthy new recording by the Barbirolli Quartet, which we have been following since 2007.

More recently, we enjoyed them at Conway Hall in a recital including the 2nd Bliss Quartet here. As before, I found it just a little prolix, maybe just a question of fashion?

By contryary, the Britten 2nd – written for the 250th anniversary of Henry Purcell’s death – seems set to become an iconoc work of its time, for its own century, ours and the next. His Chacony appropriately introduces Britten's take on it, which was unquestionably was felt to be groundbreaking at its 1945 Wigmore Hall premiere which I attended. The Barbirollis predictably give it a fine recorded account.

But I found it significantly hampered by recorded dryness from the usually reliable Wyastone Concert Hall - microphones too close maybe?

That the Barbirollis were there for a generous week in April 2011 is perhaps signified by the bizarre liner notes photo of fine instruments on loan from the RAM Collection abandoned in a deserted studio, presumably those if I read it right?

Peter Grahame Woolf