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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ernest John Moeran - String Quartets; String Trio (Maggini Quartet) mp3


Composer: Ernest John Moeran
  1. String Quartet in E flat major: I. Allegro moderato ma ben animato
  2. String Quartet in E flat major: II. Lento - Vivace - Allegretto - Andante - Allegro vivace
  3. String Quartet in A minor: I. Allegro - Lento - Tempo primo
  4. String Quartet in A minor: II. Andante con moto
  5. String Quartet in A minor: III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
  6. String Trio in G major: I. Allegretto giovale
  7. String Trio in G major: II. Adagio
  8. String Trio in G major: III. Molto vivace - Lento sostenuto
  9. String Trio in G major: IV. Andante grazioso - Presto

Maggini Quartet
Laurence Jackson, violin
David Angel, violin
Martin Outram, viola
Michal Kaznowski, cello

Date: 1997
Label: Naxos



The A minor Quartet dates from 1921 when Moeran was a pupil of John Ireland at the Royal College of Music. According to Philip Heseltine, the present quartet, along with the evocative symphonic impression entitled In the Mountain Country (1921) and gorgeous First Rhapsody (1922), form a triptych which betrays “the influence of the surroundings in which he passed so many of his impressionable years – the grey skies and flat misty landscapes of the Eastern counties”. It is an enormously fluent, folk-song-inspired creation, full of Ravelian poise; indeed the last movement of the three (an exhilarating rondo) owes much to the finale of the French master’s F major Quartet. Not surprisingly, Moeran himself always retained his affection for this piece, and the Maggini Quartet accord it wonderfully assured, flexible advocacy (more so, in fact, than do the otherwise sympathetic Melbourne Quartet).

Discovered among Moeran’s papers by his widow (the cellist Peers Coetmore) after his death in 1950, the E flat Quartet appears to be another comparatively early effort. It is cast in just two movements, the second of which is an ambitious linked slow movement and finale, full of ambition and tender fantasy, and containing some truly magical inspiration along the way (try the haunting Andante episode beginning at 6'10'', where time really does seem to stand still). Perhaps this movement’s intrepid thematic and emotional diversity engendered sufficient niggling doubts in Moeran’s mind for him to suppress the whole work. Certainly, in a performance as convinced and convincing as the one here, its melodic fecundity and unpretentious, ‘out of doors’ charm will endear it to many.

That leaves the masterly String Trio of 1931, which, in its impeccable craft, rhythmic pungency (the opening Allegretto giovale boasts a time-signature of 7/8), gentle sense of purpose and unerring concentration (above all in the deeply felt slow movement), represents one of Moeran’s finest achievements. Aficionados will no doubt have already purchased Mike Dutton’s superb restoration of the 1941 recording with Jean Pougnet, Frederick Riddle and Anthony Pini (a treasurable display from, as LS put it in his review, “one of the finest combinations of string players this country has ever produced”). The members of the Maggini Quartet reveal a similar relish for Moeran’s exquisitely judged part-writing and give an admirably polished, affectionate rendering, if (inevitably) without quite the patrician elegance and characterful tang of the earlier one.

Excellent sound and balance throughout. I do urge you to investigate this enterprising, hugely enjoyable collection.

-- Andrew AchenbachGramophone

More reviews:


Ernest John Moeran (31 December 1894 – 1 December 1950) was an English composer. He studied piano and composition at the Royal College of Music with Charles Villiers Stanford and, after the war, with John Ireland. Moeran came late in the canon of last major British composers heavily influenced by folk-song. By Moeran's time, this style was already seen as somewhat dated and he never made a big breakthrough as a composer despite the success of his Symphony in G minor (1934–1937), generally regarded as his masterpiece.


The Maggini Quartet is a British string quartet, formed in 1988. The Quartet's name derives from the famous 16th century Brescian violin maker Giovanni Paolo Maggini. Maggini Quartet is known for championing the British repertoire, and has made many CD recordings published through publishers such as Naxos Records. In addition to their concert activity, the members of the Quartet have an international reputation as chamber music coaches. Its current members are Julian Leaper (Violin 1), David Angel (Violin 2), Martin Outram (Viola) and Michal Kaznowski (Cello).


MP3, 320 kbps
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