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Robert Crawford: String Quartets Nos 13 CD
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1. String Quartet No. 1 - Edinburgh Quartet
2. String Quartet No. 2 - Edinburgh Quartet
3. String Quartet No. 3 - Edinburgh Quartet
Delphians second disc of chamber music by Robert Crawford was released shortly before his death in January 2012, aged 86, and pays fitting tribute to a composer whose long friendship with the Edinburgh Quartet ultimately brought him back to composition after three decades silence. Given here in characteristically vivid readings, these three fine works thus offer a fascinating overview of Crawfords stylistic development; the second in particular, with its inspired wit and infectious musicality, deserves far greater renown.
ROBERT CRAWFORD'S String Quartet No.1 is a big and beautiful work. Its true personality comes from a lyrical quality that is foremost in the gorgeous adagio, but is equally potent in the other movements, albeit muted by sinewy, angular textures that owe much to Bartok. The latter influence is amplified in the Quartet No 2, but again, long, languishing strands of melody counterbalance the music's biting energy and later bursts of humour. It was 30 years before the Edinburgh composer reapplied himself to composing quartets, but the 1987 Third Quartet has an unmistakable likeness in colour and shade. All three are performed here with deserving affection by the Edinburgh quartet. --Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, 27 September 2011
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