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String Quintet (Leonard, Barcham-Stevens, Andrade, Stirling) Box set


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£38.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Alistair Hinton Responds 20 Mar. 2003
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
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After posting my review of the Quintet on the Amazon website, I received a communication from its composer, Alistair Hinton, making a few corrections. Hinton writes that he all at once �appreciate[s] [my] having gone to such lengths to comment� on his Quintet but also �hope[s] [that I] will not mind if [he] make[s] a few remarks of [his] own on [my] observations, as follows.� I say that Hinton �cultivated a friendship with Sorabji, beginning in the late 1960s.� Hinton writes that �it was in the 1970s, actually.� I say that Hinton �derives his musical aesthetic - or at any rate his musical ambition - largely from his elder and mentor.� Hinton remarks that �this is possibly misleading in context, in that my Quintet was all planned out and the first movement and much of the second movement completed before I had even heard of Sorabji.� I write that �Hinton composed the Quintet over more than a decade, often putting it away because its conception daunted even its author and because of the conviction that, even when complete, it would never find performers willing to tackle the job.� Hinton writes that �it was� seven years and ten months, actually - and whilst its conception did indeed daunt me, especially in terms of doubts and concerns as to whether I had the technical accomplishments to complete it, I was never discouraged from progressing it by probable lack of performance prospects - this is a factor I only allowed myself to consider AFTER finishing the work.� I also say that �Hinton takes his texts from Schoenberg, Delius, Tagore, Keats, and Gibran,� to which Hinton �would add the phrase �and several other poets and composers too...�� I remark that: �the unifying idea [of the Quintet] is the autonomy of artistic expression, which ought never, in Hinton's view, be tied to doctrines or dogmas, and which must be free to seek the redemption of beauty. The assertion is a romantic one. In making it, Hinton joins the growing consensus of composers that much of mid-twentieth century music went the wrong way, alienating itself from the Platonic quest and alienating listeners who had no interest in partisan esthetic theory.� Hinton writes that �whilst this first part of what [your remark] is absolutely of the essence, I am not sure I have �joined� any such consensus as such; my actual view is that, from the first quarter of the last century, music went more ways than it has ever gone previously - and for me to suggest that all or any of these ways were �wrong� would constitute the assertion of one of those very kinds of �doctrines or dogmas� from which, as you quite rightly deduce, I believe �the autonomy of artistic expression� must remain exempt. Certainly I had no wish to express in the music any views on �the autonomy of artistic expression,� nor indeed would it have been possible to do so, but I readily admit that such a view as you rightly ascribe to me would have informed my approach to composing this piece.� I assert that �compact disc is the obvious medium for Hinton's Quintet.� Hinton rejoins that �in terms of sheer practicality, DVD-audio-only would have been a preferable recorded medium (except that there's barely the beginnings of a market for it yet), in that the need to get up from one's armchair to replace CD2 with CD3 is less than ideal inevitability due to the constraints of what can be got onto a single CD. That said, for me, at least, the best medium for the piece is public performance; even Altarus Records, who have done a splendidly lifelike job of this recording, believe the same, contending that �recording,� however finely done, is by definition a kind of �copy of the real thing.�� I say that the Quintet �has been performed in concert.� Hinton reminds us that �no it hasn't yet, more's the pity! I hope that it soon will be - and so (I am pleased to find) are all the artists involved, despite the obvious challenges that this would present to them.� I say that �the fugal passages� are strongly reminiscent of Sorabji's fugues in Opus Clavicembalisticum.� Hinton says, �Each to his own take on how they sound, of course - but I was far more conscious of such examples as Beethoven's Grosse Fuge and the fugue in Schoenberg's Quartet in D minor, Op. 7, as well as of renaissance polyphony, when writing them.� On my quibble about the lack of track timings, Hinton says: �The issues of timings and track subdivisions always invite dissent. Personally, they don't bother me at all. It's easy to tell the durations of the individual movements (as a track is allotted to each) just by putting the CD in the player. As to track divisions, any �learning aid� that might be offered by dividing the movements (especially the last) into several tracks would by definition be wholly absent from a concert performance and, especially as I see live presentation as the ideal, I am not concerned that any recorded medium in which it is also presented should try to make the experience any easier to follow than a concert performance would be; believe me, I am not being obsequious here and have no desire to make the absorption of this lengthy finale any more difficult than it need be, but I feel that it is all too easy to fall prey to the idea that recorded presentation is somehow superior to live presentation for a number of reasons which, for some, may include the kind of road-map offered by track subdivisions. In short, I prefer to let the music tell its own story to its listeners in its own way - aided not by added signposts but by its own inherent intellectual and emotional rhythm alone - and in as few or as many listening sessions as it may require of each individual listener; if you've gotten to grips with it in just three, as you write, you've done very well!� I again urge that Hinton�s Quintet is an extraordinary �contemporary� work deserving of attention. No one who buys this set will regret it. [Thomas F. Bertonneau]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hinton's Himalayan Quintet 10 Mar. 2003
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Who has heard of Alistair Hinton (born 1950)? I had not until I read on on-line review of the work that I propose to discuss in the present context. First, something about Hinton - he cultivated a friendship, beginning in the late 1960s, with the eccentric British composer Kaikhosru Sorabji (1892 - 1988) and is the founder and supervisor of the Sorabji Archive. The Sorabji connection is important, for Hinton derives his musical aesthetic - or at any rate his musical ambition - largely from his elder and mentor. Sorabji is notorious for the demands of his major works. The four-and-a-half-hour "Opus Clavicembalisticum" is a case in point. Only a few pianists have ever attempted this score and it remains a task mainly for youngish and robust keyboard adventurers. Hinton's own modestly - but deceptively - titled "String Quintet" is likewise an extraordinarily extended work, lasting nearly three hours in performance and requiring, in addition to the double bass, a soprano. Hinton composed the "Quintet" over more than a decade, often putting it away because its conception daunted even its author and because of the conviction that, even when complete, it would never find performers willing to tackle the job. It exhibits the marks of its long gestation. The first four of the five movements require about forty-five minutes for performance; the fifth movement, the one that involves the soprano, requires just over two hours. Taking the first four movements as a variegated whole and regarding the sum of them as a prelude to the fifth movement solves the problem posed for analysis by Hinton's apparently asymmetric structure. (In fact, the fifth movement's internal divisions emphasize the work's overall formal balance.) The unity of the composition's two "halves" derives from the development in the second half of motives and themes exposed in the first. Let not the thought of a three-hour ensemble piece or of a nearly two-hour movement deter the potential explorer of this music: Hinton writes in an accessible language. Listeners will detect the self-proclaimed influences, from Bach and Busoni to Mahler and Berg, from the Schoenberg of "Verklärte Nacht" to the Delius of "Late Larks" or "Cynara." Hinton discusses his debts frankly in the booklet. What does Hinton's colossal "String Quintet" sound like? The First Movement (no description or indication) clocks in at twenty-seven minutes: the spirits of the early Schoenberg and of Berg hover nearby; the music, unfolding in moderate tempi and darkly colored by the double bass, is described by Colin Scott-Sutherland as corresponding to sonata form. The texture is contrapuntal, forecasting the increasingly complex fugues that punctuate the vocal passages in the Fifth Movement. The Second Movement is the first of two scherzos: it bears the designation of "Allegro Scherzando." The point of known reference is the Shostakovich scherzo style, spiky and expressionistic. A slow ("Adagio") "Theme and Variations" follows the first scherzo and is followed in turn by the second scherzo ("Allegro Con Brio"). Normally, such a structure would end with a fifth movement matching the first in duration and in similar slow tempi, but what now begins is the astonishing two-hour Finale. Hinton takes his texts from Schoenberg, Delius, Tagore, Keats, and Gibran. The unifying idea is the autonomy of artistic expression, which ought never, in Hinton's view, be tied to doctrines or dogmas, and which must be free to seek the redemption of beauty. The assertion is a romantic one. In making it, Hinton joins the growing consensus of composers that much of mid-twentieth century music went the wrong way, alienating itself from the Platonic quest and alienating listeners who had no interest in partisan esthetic theory. Compact disc is the obvious medium for Hinton's "Quintet." It has been performed in concert, but I, to speak only for myself, doubt that I would have the public stamina required for it. In the comfort of one's own home, and with the convenience of the "pause" button, the task is not so daunting. My experience is that it takes three auditions to begin to understand the long concluding movement's unity. Even so, almost any moment of the two-hour stretch, taken on its own, is beautiful. The fugal passages mentioned above are strongly reminiscent of Sorabji's fugues in "Opus Clavicembalisticum." They are tempestuous and hallucinatory. The players obviously tackle this as a labor of love. Now for one or two quibbles. The first one is that neither the box nor the booklet gives timings for the movements. They are: CD I, track 1 (23.50), track 2 (7.27), track 3 (10.05); CD II, track 1 (3.47), track 2 (58.58); CD III, track 1 (1.05.14). The second one is that the enormously long concluding movement should have been given multiple access-points, keyed, say, to the texts. This would be a tremendous aid in a listener's LEARNING the piece. Quibbles aside, this is an important contemporary work, neo-romantic and grand. The set is sure to become a collector's item. Interested parties should get hold of it while the supply lasts.
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