ROBERT MAITLAND (Baritone)
THE CATTERALL STRING QUARTET:
ARTHUR CATTERALL ( Violin) ; LAURANCE TURNER (Violin); JOHN FRY (Viola); HERBERT WITIIERS
THE six quartets contained in Op. 76 are almost the last that Haydn wrote, and they are certainly among the most splendid. They include the quartets known as the Quinten, the Emperor (with the famous variations on the Emperor's Hymn), the Sunrise, and this one, sometimes known as the Largo, because of the wonderful slow movement which bears so unmistakably the spirit of romantic youth.
Den es gehet dem Menschen wie dem Vieh (One
Thing bofalleth the Beasts and the Sons of Men)
Ich wandte mich, und sahe an, alle (So I returned and did consider all the Oppressions)
0 Tod, 0 Tod, wie bitter bist du (0 Death, 0
Death, how bitter art thou)
Wenn ich mit Menschon-und mit Engelszungen redete (Though I speak with The Tongues of Men and of Angels)
(English from the text adapted by Paul England )
THE Four Serious Songs was the last work
Brahms composed. He was at work at it in the summer of 1896, the year preceding his death, and it may well be that he wrote with some foreboding that his end was near. There is apparent, in these religious songs, nothing of the dogmatism of any particular church ; they dwell rather on the mysterious problems of human destiny, a subject which Brahms had once before dealt with in the choral work, The Song of Destiny.
TCHAIKOVSKY did not consider that his powers lay particularly in the direction of chamber music, and the only three string quartets he did compose were written within a few years of one another, comparatively early in his career, this one, the third, in 1877. Yet it was Tchaikovsky who shared with Borodin the credit of originating a Russian style of chamber music, just as ho had, with others, done for Russian opera and orchestral music. All Tchaikovsky's quartets are as richly adorned with distinctive and often very beautiful melodies, as are his symphonies, and the third quartet is full of lovely passages. The sombre fact that it was written in memory of, and dedicated to, a personal friend of Tchaikovsky, Ferdinand Laub , a violinist, does not make for sombre music, and although there is a funeral march rhythm in the first movement and an actual andante funebre e doloroso in the third movement, the whole quartet is beauty unrestrained, with gaiety alone held in check, and the real mood is not that of a lament, but that of an elegy.