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Bax: String Quartets 1, 2 [CD]

The Maggini Quartet Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Maggini Quartet is one of the finest British string quartets. Renowned for their championship of British repertoire, their acclaimed and ongoing contribution to the Naxos British Music Series has seen the Maggini’s worldwide CD sales exceed 100,000. International awards include Gramophone Chamber Music CD of the Year, a Cannes Classical Award and a Diapason d’Or of the Year and ... Read more in Amazon's The Maggini Quartet Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Bax: String Quartets 1, 2 + Bax: String Quartet No. 3, Lyrical Interlude/Adagio + Bridge: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3
Price For All Three: 17.97

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Product details

  • Composer: Arnold Bax
  • Audio CD (5 Nov 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00005RG7Q
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,971 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. String Quartet in G major: I. Allegretto semplice 8:31Album Only
Listen  2. String Quartet in G major: II. Lento e molto expressivo 8:23Album Only
Listen  3. String Quartet in G major: III. Rondo: Allegro vivace 6:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. String Quartet in A major: I. Allegro12:07Album Only
Listen  5. String Quartet in A major: II. Lento molto espressivo10:04Album Only
Listen  6. String Quartet in A major: III. Allegro vivace 8:15Album Only

Product Description

The Maggini Quartet does its impressive reputation no harm at all here--the playing of these two rarely-heard quartets by Bax is simply outstanding in all respects, aided by immaculate, immediate sound. Whether or not these works are in the quartet's permanent repertoire I don't know, but the sense of assurance, direction, balance and ear for colour certainly suggest so--there is total commitment from all four players. As to Bax himself? Well, those bewitched by the magic of his symphonic sound need not fear disappointment here. Having said that, the first quartet, written when the composer was 35 (and dedicated to Elgar in memory of a meeting when Bax was a schoolboy), is uncomplicatedly fresh and charming, containing much by way of folk music influence. This also seeps here and there into the second quartet, but this is a far more complex work. Darker in tone and encompassing many contrasting moods, it calls for a high level of accomplishment in sewing diverse ideas and textures together. The first quartet may initially draw you back to this album, but you may find that it's the second that comes to haunt--a fascinating scaling-down of the sound-world of those haunting symphonies. --Andrew Green

Product Description

CD Composer: Bax,Arnold

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No going Bax! 7 Feb 2011
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
This has been my first introduction to the chamber works of Arnold Bax.

I will not bore you with blather on the rendition and musical content.

Suffice to say that I enjoyed listening and the playing/recording is excellent.

Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 1 Oct 2011
By paulk
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Although I particularly like Bax's music I believe this recording will be appreciated by most chamber music lovers. The Maggini Quartet play with beautiful tone and the recording is excellent.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Quartet Should be Popular 28 Feb 2009
By Graham
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent introduction to the chamber music of Sir Arnold Bax. The first quartet deserves to be popular with its easy going style and good tunes.

The much acclaimed Maggini Quartet, as in their many other recordings for Naxos, give superb performances.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bax Masters 1 Jun 2002
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on
Format:Audio CD
The music of Sir Arnold Trevor Bax (1883-1953) is always identifiable but it does not always immediately betray itself. A case in point is the First String Quartet (1918), where the bouncy first subject of the opening Allegro brings to mind Dvorak at his sunniest: at its reprise, the tune sounds slightly more Irish than previously and one begins to think about the composer of "In Memoriam," "The Garden of Fand," and "Tintagel" - English by birth but Irish and Scots by self-election. Once, Bax's First Quartet (in G Major) was the most played of British entries in the genre; he wrote three such works altogether to which he admitted, and there were one or two student efforts. The First has been recorded before, most recently on a Chandos disc as part of that label's heroic though latterly fretful Bax project. For any work so fine as Bax's First String Quartet, it is good to have more than one recording. The new performance on Naxos by the Maggini Quartet by no means requires the retirement of the now twenty-year-old performance by the English String Quartet; rather it enriches our understanding of the score by approaching the three movements in ways that differ from the interpretation offered on the Chandos standby. The most noticeable difference comes in the middle movement, to which the Maggini Quartet brings a greater feeling of plasticity than the English Quartet - imbuing it with a slightly, a very slightly, darker atmosphere. Subtle though the difference is, the ear hears it and the musical imagination remarks it. In the management of transitions, from one subject or section to another, the Maggini Quartet creates a greater sense of flow than the English Quartet. The English Quartet, on the other hand, marks the rhythms of the sprightly outer movements more heavily, and with good effect, than their counterparts on the Naxos disc. In the Third Movement, the lovely Irish tune bears a heavier weight of nostalgia under the Maggini Quartet than under their counterparts on Naxos. Here especially the two performances nicely complement one another. The Second Quartet too shows subtle differences in the Maggini performance. This is natural, as prior to the English Quartet's recording for Chandos (coupled with Bax's Piano Quintet), there was no living "tradition" for this score. (Nor will there be for the Third, should anyone get around to performing or recording it; it will be for the pioneers to set the tone.) To my ears, the Maggini reading minds the transitions with more success than the old one on Chandos, as fine as that remains. The Second is a bigger work than the First, closer in its procedures to the two symphonies (his First and Second) that Bax wrote in the first half of the 1920s. Despite what some commentators say, however, the Second Quartet does not really inhabit the same dejected and angry realm as the Second Symphony; the pathos of the Symphony is at a higher pitch than in the Quartet, although the latter boasts some darkly elegiac music, beginning with the improvisatory cello solo that opens the first movement. Michael Kasnowski is the cellist. He understands something important about Bax's music: that if the melodic line is not thoroughly thought out and sculpted with cognizance of the whole, the phrases can sound awkward and inarticulate; Bax needs executive nuance in his musical joints to sound effective. The sound on the Naxos disc is also more appropriate to Bax than that on the older disc, which dates (after all) from twenty years ago. The Naxos recorded sound is mellow, without the high-note harshness of early digital recording; the Maggini Quartet players are not so close-up as their precursors in this repertory, either, and this benefits both scores. In sum: a splendid disc made all the more attractive because of the comparatively low tariff. Baxians will definitely want the new disc as a complement to the pioneering Chandos issue.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent playing of at least somewhat interesting music 17 Feb 2009
By G.D. - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Bax's chamber music has never acquired the status of his most famous orchestral works, and there is frankly no wonder why - his ability to create nuanced colors, even auditory equivalents of temperature with the orchestra (never mind that some people find his works a little over-orchestrated) just isn't captured by these smaller forces. His string quartets are, however, still fine works and worth hearing, especially in performances as good as these.

The first quartet is clearly inspired by the Dvorak quartets, and the slow movement is atmospheric and the finale pleasantly jaunty. The second quartet is more serious and more difficult. The first movement is surprisingly devoid of Baxian atmosphere and even the second is a little nervous - whereas the sanguinity of the third is offset by a certain callousness. This is clearly Bax trying something different, but I am not entirely sure he quite succeeds. At least the Maggini quartet plays both works outstandingly, and this issue is firmly recommended to the devout Baxian
4.0 out of 5 stars Smaller Scale Bax 10 Dec 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I can go along with some of what the previous reviewers have written about this disc, though I don't know that I agree with everything in their comments. I've enjoyed Bax's symphonies and much of his other orchestral works, and so decided to move on to his chamber music, starting with the quartets. So far, I've been rather pleased. I can't compare these performances with others -- though at the time I write this I believe alternate recordings are available for only the Quartet No. 1 -- so my comments will be with respect to the music itself, for the most part. The two quartets on this release, the Nos. 1 and 2, are rather different in feel and tone. As noted by one or both of the reviewers who preceded me, the No. 1 is highly reminiscent of Dvorak, at least in its first movement, with a slide in the following two movements toward a landscape that strikes me as Irish, but viewed through a kind of cubist lens. Perhaps that doesn't make complete sense, but someone will understand what I'm trying to say. In any case, this quartet overall is generally more active and alert than the No. 2, which is far more brooding through its first two movements before the finale seems to attempt to take those introspective perceptions and meld them into something more active, a goal which is partially achieved, though a sense of frustration seems to weave through the finale until the very end, where there seems to be some degree of acceptance expressed in the music. Anyway, these vague emotional ramblings aside, I found the two pieces, though different in tone, each engaging on their own terms. The Maggini Quartet execute each exquisitely, as far as my layman's ear can discern, and this Naxos disc definitely gets my recommendation, for what it might be worth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising Bax 5 Sep 2012
By I.O.Pine - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Prior to hearing this CD, I had heard only Bax's orchestral music and was not impressed. However, this CD is something else! These are very attractive and enjoyable quartets. Bax's 1st quartet shows the influence of Dvorak, but also shows his own voice. That voice is more clearly heard in the later quartet which is more serious and, to me, even more attractive. The playing is, as usual with this group, beyond criticism.
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