ETHEL BARTLETT AND RAE ROBERTSON (Duetsfor
Two Pianofortes); HERBERT WITHERS (Violoncello) ; THE MARIE WILSON STRING QUARTET: MARIE WILSON (Violin); GWENDOLINE HIGHAM
(Violin) ; ANNE WOLFE (Viola);
PHYLLIS HASLUCK (Violoncello)
ERNEST JOHN MOERAN began to compose already during has schooldays at Upping-ham, where music has always been enthusiastically cultivated. Like many others of the younger generation of English composers, his original work goes hand-in-hand with an enthusiasm for native folk music ; that of Norfolk, where a good part of hislifehas been spent, has always attracted him specially, as listeners have already had opportunities of hearing for themselves in his 'Norfolk Rhapsodies' and other works.
He has himself collected a number of Norfolk folk tunes for the Folk Song Society, and if the themes in this String Quartet are not in themselves actual melodies of the land, they have something of tho direct simplicity and something of the real expressiveness of folk song.
The first movement is begun by the violoncello, against a tremulous accompaniment, with a broad simple melody which the viola and afterwards the first violin take up, and then there is another more sturdy theme, played on its first appearance by all the instruments together. These are worked out with unfailing interest, and the whole movement is clear and straightforward.
The viola begins the second, a slow movement, with another eloquently simple melody, and though the time hero and there grows more animated, it is the serene mood of the opening which mainly prevails.
The last movement has a bold little introduction, and then the viola announces the merry tune, vivacious and sprightly in its interchange of 3-4 and 6-8 measure. The movement is a Rondo which is dominated by that first theme, and it is it which furnishes also the sparkling and vivacious close.
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