PETER RACINE FRICKER (1920-1990): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 8*, No. 2, Op. 20 and No. 3*, Adagio and Scherzo*. * - First Recordings.
Catalogue Number: 02S069
Description: As with previous recent offerings (especially 03R012) it is good finally to see this fine, seriously misunderstood composer being afforded some long-overdue attention. The First was an early work, but Fricker's original approach to a highly chromatic, sinewy, far from atonal idiom is already very evident. The work is in a single movement, clearly subdivided into three distinct sections. The Second followed a few years later, and is noticeably more confident and memorable. This is in more conventional four-movement form, with a similar vocabulary, within comfortable striking range of tonality. Twenty years elapsed before the Third, by which time Fricker had adopted his personal approach to serial organization; it must be said, though, that the work is far from atonal, the harmonic language remaining recognisably the same chromatic idiom as the earlier works. The piece is arranged in a symmetrical five-movement structure, with an intricate variation movement for a finale. This is the most accomplished of these works, which is not to deny the significant virtues of the others. The Adagio and Scherzo pre-date the composer's real career, and were probably intended as part of an early quartet. Villiers Quartet.