JOSEPH PHIBBS (b.1974): String Quartet No. 1, MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE (b.1960): Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): 3 Idylls, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): 3 Divertimenti.
Catalogue Number: 11U074
Label: Champs Hill
Description: Phibbs' quartet is a substantial work in five movements, overlain with an additional structure comprising a sequence of Cantos and Duos, which ingeniously give the work a cohesive, over-arching shape and allows the traversal of a wide spectrum of emotional and expressive territory. The composer's idiom is very tonal, and the work is imbued with a profound sense of melancholy, which deepens as the piece progresses. The three short Canto sections are reworkings of a sad viola melody given in the first; the last is funereal, leading into the tragic final 'Vocalise'. Two furious outbursts - an abrasive scherzo and a hectic fugato, leading to a frenzied duo, abruptly supplanted by the final three lamenting episodes - Duo, Canto and Vocalise - burst through the narrative; the only 'light relief' is a gentle little pizzicato interlude midway through the piece. Turnage's work is also substantial, in three movements this time. The composer confesses that he only overcame his trepidation at entering the arena of the venerable string quartet genre by 'having fun' by basing the outer movements on songs by the band Led Zeppelin. This leads to punchy, confrontational music, the kind of thing we know from Turnage's aggressive earlier, jazz-inflected pieces, but not to mere arrangements of rock songs for quartet. The treatment of 'Stairway to Heaven' in particular makes good use of the fact that in any genre, it's a really good tune - before it's treated in closer accordance with its origins at the end. The middle movement, slow and lyrical, with eerie, hollow drum effects played on the instruments' bodies, is a memorial to Henze's long-time partner, Fausto Moroni. Piatti Quartet,