This sixth string quartet is in six sections, played almost without a break. Begun in 1987 the work was subsequently abandoned, then restarted in 1990 and completed in May 1992. Premiered at the Cheltenham Music Festival. For professionals and advanced students.
This sixth string quartet is in six sections, played almost without a break. Begun in 1987 the work was subsequently abandoned, then restarted in 1990 and completed in May 1992. Premiered at the Cheltenham Music Festival. For professionals and advanced students. Review: "Richard Arnell's 6th String Quartet opens in an intriguing way using a scale of the composer's own making. Look Back is the second movement's title, which is an andante which I felt Elgar himself might not have disclaimed. Followed by a Dance in flamboyant mood, and then a duet for viola and cello. To hear a violin cadenza with an accompaniment is not completely unknown. Elgar has done it. On this night we heard Bowes playing artistically, with his colleagues using an imaginative technique. The work came to a conclusion with a restatement identified by the musical term 'sostenuto' – sustained. It gave the audience a great deal of delight, and the composer was there with the musicians to receive a sustained ovation." – Douglas Drane in the Citizen, July 1992. Review: "Richard Arnell's Quartet No 6 immediately struck with its unusual harmonization, not chromatic, but based on a scale in which the semitone intervals do not occur where you expect them. There are six contrasting movements, played almost without a break between them; the fifth movement, called Accompanied Cadenza, is just that, but both the cadenza and the accompaniment are out of the ordinary. The quartet is a remarkable work if not all instantly accessible." – East Anglian Times, July 1993
Richard Arnell was born in London in 1917 and educated at the Hall School, Hampstead and University College School before entering the Royal College of Music where he studied composition with John Ireland and Piano with Sir John Dykes. It was here that he began his first string quartet which was first performed by the Galimer Quartet at the 52nd Street New York Public Library in 1940. In 1938 he was awarded the Farrar Prize for composition. Between 1939 and 1947 he wrote his first important compositions, including his first three symphonies, concertos for violin and for piano and three string quartets. He was taken up by eminent conductors, among them Leopold Stokowski and Sir Thomas Beecham. From 1943 to 1946 he was music consultant to the BBC's North American Service. In 1947 he returned to England and became a composition teacher at Trinity College of Music, remaining on the staff until his retirement in 1987. He became an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1950 and a Principal Lecturer in 1981. He was appointed as music director and board member of the London International Film School from 1975 to 1988 when he retired. Arnell died in 2009.
A solid, serious work for aspiring string quartets or established groups, this piece was the subject of a master class from the Wihan Quartet from the Czech Republic. The quartet, inspired by Janáček's Intimate Letters quartet, was similarly inspired by letters from a woman to her lover. It is scored in three contrasting movements consisting of a gestural first movement, a slow arch form second movement and a fiery syncopated 5/4 finale.
Written above all to be enjoyed by the players, audiences have shown that they too share that same delight. Both of Mason's string quartets are in four movements which exploit the instruments on equal terms, and both are in a musical language that enables the strings to sing as they should. These two quartets will happily share any programme with music from Haydn to Debussy and beyond.
This piece is all about the fun side of country music. Don't Ask is the simple answer to the question asking what happens next. Freedom is a spiritual from the rural state of Tennessee, starting with a lone plaintive cry that becomes a statement of optimism as more people join in. In Pam! Bam! Zonk! the drinking gets a little too much for some, so this movement is a glorious fight.
This piece by Dominic Sewell was written for the Junior Course at Pro Corda Summer School (the National String Chamber Music Academy) where it received its first performance. It is an excellent introduction to tonal contemporary music for younger students aged 12 to 18. The piece is good for teaching purposes as it is short but also provides some technical and ensemble difficulties.
'Frisco by those in the know is a jewel of a city. The titles of the four movements tell it all - Keeping Ahead of yourself is what you have to do in a city with a glorious past but an uncertain and uneasy present. Light Reflecting from the Bridge seems to warm the whole city, bathing it in a gently reddish hue. Alongside the pathway in one of the city parks is a sand track for horses, and every now and then you see Footprints in the Sand, some are in couples, others alone. The thoughts of those people who are alone touches you, but it is the Time to Be Certain and you regain your beliefs and confidence.