Thursday, 30 March 2017

Welcome premiere recordings of William Alwyn’s early quartets Nos 10 to 13 from the acclaimed Tippett Quartet on Somm

Between 1922 and 1936 William Alwyn (1905-1985) wrote thirteen string quartets of which he was never truly satisfied and which he withdrew. In his Essay in Autobiography, Winged Chariot Alwyn wrote ‘…compositions were pouring from my fertile pen, too fertile as I was to realise later; no less than 14 String Quartets (there was an un-numbered earlier quartet), a Violin Concerto and a gigantic setting for soloists, double choir, organ and orchestra…’

It was not until his String Quartet in D minor of 1953 that he felt he had ‘fully indulged (his) love of melodic subtlety and invention,’ titling it his Quartet No.1.

Sadly these early string quartets have never been recorded making the premiere recordings of Nos 10 to 13 from the acclaimed Tippett Quartet for Somm Recordings all the more welcome.


William Alwyn was born in Northampton, England and studied with Sir John McEwen (1868-1948) at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he later taught. In 1961 he retired to Suffolk to compose. His compositions include five symphonies, concertos, an opera Miss Julie, vocal works, piano pieces, chamber works and over 60 film scores.

Alwyn’s String Quartet No. 10 (En Voyage) is headed ‘R M S Rangitiki Pacific Ocean, December 1932 when the composer was returning from Queensland, Australia and was broadcast by the Birmingham Ladies Quartet in May 1936 with a contemporary critic remarking ‘…it is agreeable music, not unadventurous in harmony, well written for the instruments and by no means without atmosphere.’

In four movements the first is entitled Departure (Adagio e dolente) and opens with a gentle theme introduced by the viola which is immediately taken up by the whole Quartet. The Tippett Quartet finds every little detail and nuance in this beautifully pastoral adagio. Soon there is a repeated violin motif around which the theme is developed, adding a gentle rocking motion. The music rises dynamically midway before finding the gentle peace of the opening, with some beautifully ripe string tone from the cello. Sea Birds (Allegro vivace) springs into life with a pizzicato chord to move full of spirit, through passages that evoke fresh air and open spaces. Centrally   a wistful section appears with a lovely descending motif before further more reflective moments are heard only to race to a terrific coda.

The Lonely Waters (Adagio ma non troppo) brings a gentle, hushed two note rising and falling motif for violins and viola to which the cello adds a deep line. It is the cello that continues the melancholy theme over the rest of the Quartet, a quite lovely idea.  Later the theme is taken by all the players, finding a quiet passion as it develops, the cello again adding deep rich tones, through a quieter, sombre passage that leads to the coda. Trade Winds (Vivace) has a sparkling opening that brings some very fine playing from the Tippett Quartet in this fast and breezy movement. The music soon finds a greater flow as the melody is developed, finely shaped by this Quartet, bringing forth every rise and fall. Later there is a rather romantic moment before the music scurries to the coda to conclude on a held cello note.

String Quartet No. 11 in B minor was written in April and May 1933 and is in three movements. The first movement opens with an Andante ma non Troppo that rises out of a cello motif, slowly finding a fresher sound as it develops, through passages of varying tempi and dynamics before rising for the Allegro con brio to dash forward energetically with some beautifully turned phrases, later finding richer sonorities. The opening motif re-appears before the music takes off energetically again with this Quartet creating a terrific energy and forward pulse. When the lovely reflective Andante arrives there is some beautiful writing for strings before we are led to the hushed coda; a glorious moment.

Alwyn created a lovely opening idea for the second movement Andante e semplice, full of pathos as the viola brings the melody over a repeated idea for violins. There are some lovely little details revealed by the Tippett Quartet as the music slowly weaves through some lovely passages, finding a passionate edge as it develops, yet always returning to its gentler feel. Quite lovely. The Quartet weave a lovely opening to the final Moderato e quieto, gentle yet flowing, moving through some exquisite ideas with a rising and falling motif. The music rises in dynamics midway before finding a bittersweet passage that leads to a gentle coda.

Alwyn’s Fantasia (String Quartet No. 12), in one movement marked Allegro con alcuna licenza, was completed in London in July 1935. It is dedicated to Alan Bush and was given its premiere by the Stratton Quartet at a concert in the Mercury Theatre, London in January 1937. The Times critic was less than enthusiastic writing that it had ‘… attempted somewhat half-heartedly to break new ground but left an uncertain impression behind.’ Happily at a later London performance by the Blech Quartet, Musical Opinion found that it was ‘… the only work that aroused any desire to hear it again…it contained a number of ingenious and novel effects.’

This work is a definite step forward from the preceding quartets, opening with more advanced, often dissonant harmonies, full of brilliance and breadth. The music falls through some fine passages where the cello brings deeper tones over the rest of the quartet. Once again there is a freshness and vitality before a slower section, beautifully shaped and nuanced. The cello develops some lovely phrases around the other players, rising in drama, finding moments of depth and feeling before the opening dissonant idea quietly returns. There are moments of increased passion as a dissonant descending motif appears. The cello brings passionate phrases over a gentler quartet line before leaping up with energy. Later the cello brings a deep rich passage which is developed until springing out across the quartet. It is a rich quieter passage, full of intense feeling, that leads to a shimmering, hushed coda.

String Quartet No. 13 was written during October and November 1936, but never performed in the composer’s lifetime. In two movements, The Tippett Quartet dig deep into their strings in the passionate outburst that is the opening of the Adagio e largamente e marcato before leading through an impressive tapestry of harmonies and sonorities as the music flows forward. There is a gentler section where some fine ideas are woven as well as a moment of pensive deliberation that precedes some more intense phrases. Later the music falls to a hush before slowly raising itself up to move slowly forward through a moment of exquisite feeling, finding a wistful solace at the end.  

Pizzicato phrases help to propel the Allegro molto e vivace allegro forward until a jaunty little theme arrives, recalling the pastoral nature of earlier quartets. Yet still there is a more advanced edge in the harmonies as the music weaves some fine passages. There are some really lovely bittersweet passages before rising through moments of increased depth and passion. Later the music suddenly picks up to move quickly forward with pizzicato phrases driving the pace. This Quartet brings some brilliantly played, fast, richly woven textures before the music finds the slower, flowing pastoral theme with lovely harmonies that leads to a hushed coda.  

Alwyn may have dismissed these quartets but they offer much pleasure, particularly in performances as fine as these from the Tippett Quartet.

The Tippett Quartet are well recorded at St. Nicholas Parish Church, Thames Ditton, England and there are excellent notes. 

Let us hope that Somm will allow the Tippett Quartet to record more of these early quartets. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful account . This has been quite informative as I didn't know the history behind it.

    1. Why not try these
      ringtones with these instruments?

    2. Great, the recordings are what I've been waiting for, I will use it as a 着信音 for my phone.

    3. how i got my Ex lover back after a divorced by the help of DR NCUBE a marriage/relationship specialist. contact him if you need help WHATSAPP DR NCUBE ON +2348155227532
      his email is.....

      he also have #herbs for


  2. Thanks for the detailed analysis. you are interested in ring tones can visit
    top new ringtones
    ringtones free download

  3. Music is my favorite hobby. I alao have a little atudio where i play guitar when i am bored. Thanks for sharing your story of recrording your music its interesting and fun to read.


    Website paling ternama dan paling terpercaya di Asia ^^
    Sistem pelayanan 24 Jam Non-Stop bersama dengan CS Berpengalaman respon tercepat :)
    Memiliki 9 Jenis game yang sangat digemari oleh seluruh peminat poker / domino

    Permainan Judi online yang menggunakan uang asli dan mendapatkan uang asli ^^
    * Minimal Deposit : 20.000
    * Minimal Withdraw : 20.000
    * Deposit dan Withdraw 24 jam Non stop ( Kecuali Bank offline / gangguan )
    * Bonus REFFERAL 15 % Seumur hidup tanpa syarat
    * Bonus ROLLINGAN 0.3 % Dibagikan 5 hari 1 kali
    * Proses Deposit & Withdraw PALING CEPAT
    * Sistem keamanan Terbaru & Terjamin
    * Poker Online Terpercaya
    * Live chat yang Responsive
    * Support lebih banyak bank LOKAL tersedia deposit via OVO dan PULSA TELKOMSEL serta XL

    Contact Us

    Website : SahabatQQ
    WA 1 : +85515769793
    WA 2 : +855972076840
    FACEBOOK : SahabatQQ Reborn
    TWITTER : SahabatQQ
    Blog : Artikel SahabatQQ
    Daftar SahabatQQ

  5. Website paling ternama dan paling terpercaya di Asia ^^
    Sistem pelayanan 24 Jam Non-Stop bersama dengan CS Berpengalaman respon tercepat :)
    Tersedia deposit via OVO dan PULSA TELKOMSEL serta XL / AXIS

    Contact Us

    Website : SahabatQQ
    WA 1 : +855972076840
    WA 2 : +855887159498
    FACEBOOK : SahabatQQ Reborn
    TWITTER : SahabatQQ
    Blog :
    * Cerita 18+
    * Artikel Seks
    * Dunia Traveling
    * Majalah kesehatan
    * Film & Movie Onlie
    * Artikel Poker

    Daftar SahabatQQ

  6. Las piezas clásicas son geniales y tengo una colección de tales canciones. las personas pueden descargar esa música clásica de forma gratuita para personalizar el tono de llamada clasicos de su teléfono.

  7. Thanks for your article
    always updated with the latest ringtones now

    Hai Teman - Teman Smuanya, Yang Hobi Bermain Judi Online
    Anda Merasa Capek, DEPOSIT Teruss..Tapi Tidak Pernah Withdraw ?
    Nikmati Seluruh Game Berkualitas & Raih Kemenangan Anda Di SAHABAT KARTU!!
    Game Yang di Hadirkan SAHABAT KARTU Yaitu :
    * Poker Online
    * BandarQ
    * Domino99
    * Bandar Sakong
    * Sakong
    * BANDAR66
    * AduQ
    * Sakong
    * Perang Baccarat
    - Minimal DP & WD Cuma Rp. 20.000
    - BONUS CASHBACK 0.5% ( Setiap Hari Senin )
    - REFERRAL 20% ( Seumur Hidup )
    * Livechat : SAHABAT KARTU
    * LINE : Cs_sahabatkartu
    * Whatsapp : +855886427216

    Sahabatkartu: Situs Poker Online, DominoQQ, Domino99, BandarQ Terpercaya

  9. Merupakan Salah Satu Situs yang terpercaya Di Indonesia
    dominowin99 Memiliki Permainan Yang Mudah Dimainkan & 100% Mudah Menang Lohh..
    Cukup Dengan 1 USER ID Anda Bisa Bermain 9 GAME Berkualitas :
    * Poker
    * Domino99
    * AduQ
    * Capsa Susun
    * Sakong
    * Bandar Poker
    - sdomino99net

    < Contact Us >
    Info Lebih Lanjut Hubungi :
    W.A : +6285974599065

    Sahabatdomino : Situs QQ Online, Agen Domino99 dan BandarQ Online Terbesar Di Asia

  10. Mau Dapatkan Uang Dengan Mudah...
    Yuk join bersama Rajabandarq, Situs Bandarq, DominoQQ, Poker Online terbaik di asia dengan 9 game yang paling seru...

    Buruan Daftar Disini >>> Daftar Rajabandarq
    Klik Disini : Situs BandarQ
    Klik Disini : Poker Online

    Baca juga :

    - Blogger : 24berita harian
    - Blogger : Kisahselebindo
    - Blogger : myrenew22
    - Blogger : Panduan Bermain Game Judi Online
    - Blogger : Seputar Dunia
    - Wordpress: Cerita 69

  11. ituQQ merupakan salah satu web judi online Domino99 CAPSA SUSUN dan POKER yang patut menjadi pilihan anda sebagai tempat bermain judi online. Berikut adalah alasan kenapa anda harus memilih ituQQ :

    Tersedia 9 GAMES Dalam 1 website
    - Domino99
    - BandarQ
    - Poker
    - AduQ
    - Capsa Susun
    - Bandar Poker
    - Sakong Online
    - Bandar66
    - Perang Baccarat


    Tersedia BONUS RAKEBACK 0,5% setiap minggunya Dan Bonus REFERRAL 20%
    memberikan Komisi Referral SEUMUR HIDUP! bagi anda yang mengajak teman anda bermain di tempat kami
    Proses Depo dan WD Lebih cepat dari agen lain karena menggunakan sistem proses yang berbeda

    Dapatkan juga Total JACKPOT hingga 600 JUTA lebih!

    Minimal Depo : Rp.50.000,-
    minimal Withdraw : Rp.100.000,-

    ◕ Dapat dimainkan di PC, ANDROID, IPHONE, dan IPAD Tersedia Ratusan meja untuk tempat anda bermain
    ◕ Permainan fair tanpa Bot, Tanpa Admin 100% member VS member
    ◕ Pembagian kartu menggunakan technologi yang lebih mutakhir dengan sistem random permanen (acak),
    sehingga kemenangan anda hanya di tentukan dengan kemampuan anda sendiri Menggunakan Sistem pengamanan yang lebih MUTAKHIR, semua data pribadi anda aman di tempat kami.
    ◕ Support Bank Lokal Indonesia (BCA, BNI, BRI, Mandiri, Danamon, Permata Bank, Etc)
    ◕ Menerima Deposit Via Pulsa & E-Money (PAYPRO, OVO, GO-PAY, DANA, T-Sel, XL, Axis)
    ◕ Dilayani dengan CS yang RAMAH dan PROFESIONAL 24 Jam

    Kunjungi link alternatif resmi kami :



    ☎ LINE : ituQQ
    ☎ WECHAT : ituQQQ
    ☎ WHATSAPP : +855.9589.7137

    #agenjudionline #agenjuditerbaik #situsjuditerpercaya #ituqq #csituqq #agenpokeronline #agenjudi #situsjudionline #judionlineindonesia #taruhanonline #situsjudi #bandarjudi #judionline #websitejuditerpercaya #webresmi