Saturday, February 23, 2013

John McEwen String Quartets Chilingirian String Quartet

Sir John Blackwood McEwen (13 April 1868 – 14 June 1948)
Performer: Chilingirian String Quartet
Label: Chandos
Released: 2004

Buy it here:
McEwen: String Quartets, Vol. 1  - AMAZON  - CLASSIC ONLINE
Quartet for Strings no 7 in E flat major "Threnody"
Quartet for Strings no 16 in G major "Provencale"
Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor
Quartet for Strings no 17 in C sharp minor "Fantasia"

Quartet No. 13 in C minor
Quartet No. 3 in E minor
Quartet No. 6 in A 'Biscay'

Quartet No. 8 in Eb major
Quartet No. 2 in A minor
Quartet No. 15 'A little quartet'

Chilingirian Quartet : Charles Sewart (Violin), Philip De Groote (Cello), Asdis Valdimarsdottir (Viola),
Levon Chilingirian (Violin)

A hazzy seaside of Scottish landscape is hidden another gem of classical music. Sir John Blackwood McEwen is a composer very little known today. This is a recording of about nine out of nineteen string quartet wrote by McEwen. The pieces were all melodious, late Romantic era style. Full of Scottish folk music.

My favorite is String quartet no. 16 in G, no.6 in A 'Biscay', and no.7 in Eb. All with great composition skill, very melancholy and truly bring us to the seashore of Scotland waters. The Biscay string quartet was performed in United States in few concert.

McEwen's Sixth Quartet (1913) has warmth of color and a keen sense of surroundings. But in no sense is the Biscay Quartet program music. although there is apparent in every bar the sunny climate of the south of France, the chilly early morn of "The Dunes" and of the cheery souls who rake the oyster beds (Les Racleuse). The opening movement, Le Phare (the lighthouse), an Allegro, is a strong and exhilarating movement depicting the wild and windswept Biscay shore. The second movement, Les Dunes, Andante mesto begins with a plaintive tune. The music gives the impression of solitude amidst a vast expanse of sand and sea. The finale, Les Racluese, Vivace, begins with a quaint tune which recalls the free and easy life of the Biscay oyster gathers." ---Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music

A Complete String Quartets cycle by John McEwen is as follow, he published seventeen of them, but there were two earlier string quartet that he himself 'didn't find it a great piece' and remain unpublished.

Quartet  Date  Grove  Cobbett  Chandos 
Quartet in c minor - 1
Quartet in f minor - 2
Quartet in F 1893 1 3
Quartet in A min 1898-9 2 4
Quartet in E m 1901 3 5
Quartet in C min 1905 4 6 4
'Nugae' 7 Bagatelles 1912 5 [7]
Quartet in A Biscay 1913 6 [8]
Quartet in Eb 'Threnody' 1916 7 9 7
Quartet in Eb 1918 8
Quartet in B min 1920 9 14
The Jocund Dance 1920 10 11
Trivial tunes 1920
Quartet in e min 1921 11
Suite of Old National Dances 1923 12 10
Quartet in c min 1928 13
Quartet in d min 1936 14
Little Quartet 'In modo Scotico' 1936 15
Quartet 'Provençale' 1936 16 16
Quartet Fantasia 1947 17 17

 Source and detail Review of John McEwen String Quartet can be found here
Music-Web International - John France

an excerpt from String Quartet no.6 in A major 'Biscay' 1st movement - Chilingirian String Quartet

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