Britten: String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2; String Quartet No. 3; String Quartet in D; Quartettino; Three Divertimenti; Alla marcia; Phantasy in F minor; Elegy for Viola; Phantasy for oboe quartet, Op. 2

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COMPOSERS: Britten
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2; String Quartet No. 3; String Quartet in D; Quartettino; Three Divertimenti; Alla marcia; Phantasy in F minor; Elegy for Viola; Phantasy for oboe quartet, Op. 2
PERFORMER: Nicholas Logie (viola)Douglas Boyd (oboe)Endellion String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CMS 5 65115 2 DDD (1987)
Either side of a hiatus of thirty years, during which opera had first call on his attentions, Britten wrote string quartets, among the first and last pieces he completed. A number of impressive if somewhat unmemorable products of his brilliant youth precede the first numbered quartet, composed in 1941. No. 2 followed four years later; No. 3 not until 1975, premiered the following year, a fortnight after Britten’s death. The surefooted Endellion Quartet are a safe recommendation, equally at home in the vivid, impulsive juvenilia and the spectral death-thoughts of Britten’s final utterance in the medium. Christopher Wood

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