BRIAN BOYDELL (1917-2000): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 31, No. 2, Op. 44 & No. 3, Op. 65, Adagio and Scherzo, Op. 89.
Catalogue Number: 06L098
Label: Carducci Classics
Reference: CSQ 8841
Description: Boydell's accessible, tonal quartets were the works that he thought best defined his personal musical language. Octatonic scales and modal elements imbue these works with a suggestion of archaic, folk- or chant-derived melodic contour. The First, from 1949, is a substantial three-movement work which begins tentatively with a melancholy larghetto, and develops the opening material through this movement's increasingly decisive mood, then in a lively scherzo, incorporating a fugue, and a finale which seems to re-examine all that has gone before in greater depth. The Second contrasts a pastoral first movement with a dancing, Bartókian second. The substantial Third plays continuously, subdivided into three distinct sections. This very personal work has echoes of Sibelius in its harmonic sense and tautly organized structure. Some 20 years later the composer wrote the Adagio and Scherzo as an occasional piece, but the work's emotional depth and sophistication raise it to an equivalent level with the other quartets, in very much the same mature idiom at which Boydell had arrived by the time he wrote his first quartet, and had refined ever since without major changes of direction. Carducci Quartet.