COMPOSERS: Daniel Jones
WORKS: String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2; String Quartet No. 3; String Quartet No. 4; String Quartet No. 5; String Quartet No. 6; String Quartet No. 7; String Quartet No. 8
PERFORMER: Delmé String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9535(2)
When Daniel Jones died in 1993 at the age of 80, he left his eighth and final quartet unfinished, but Giles Easterbrook and Malcolm Binney were able to compile this convincing performing edition from his sketches. Jones had chosen to write the piece rather than accept more lucrative commissions, which indicates his artistic integrity and his commitment to the quartet medium. Each of these quartets sounds well, wholly natural in balancing the four voices, with cogent development and striking gestures which are never merely rhetorical.
The Delmé Quartet has been closely associated with this repertoire over many years; moreover it commissioned the Fifth and Sixth Quartets. These recordings were mostly made at Snape Maltings in 1996, but three quartets (Nos 3-5) are reissues, dating from 1981 when the group featured a different second violin and cello. That said, the listener will be hard put to tell the recordings apart: both are excellent, truthfully capturing the balance and dynamics. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine the music better served. Jones worked closely with these artists, who now repay his trust: for these are exceptional performances of some of the finest chamber music of recent times. Terry Barfoot