WILLIAM SWEENEY (b.1950): String Quartet No. 3, KENNETH DEMPSTER (b.1962): String Quartet No. 4 "The Cold Dancer", JAMES CLAPPERTON (b.1968): The Great Divorce, JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): String Quartet.

Catalogue Number: 02J112

Label: Delphian

Reference: DCD34038

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: Four varied contributions to the contemporary quartet repertory by four very different Scottish composers. Dempster's lyrical and dramatic quartet evokes and illustrates a poem by George Mackay Brown. The work has some simple songlike material, rendered uneasy and enigmatic by the presence of more modern techniques; fundamentally, though, the work is tonally based and texturally sumptuous. Clapperton's work takes its title from C.S.Lewis' allegory of life after death; Hell is depicted as a grey, featureless town; people remain in this drab, meaningless limbo because they don't realize that they are in Hell, and that they could be in Heaven. The quartet is muted throughout, and the piece maintains a dreamlike, wandering, inconclusive state throughout. Weir's songful quartet - literally so; the movements are based on her own songs - is harmonically rich, with an idiosyncratic close, dense ensemble texture. Sweeney's quartet, quite the largest work here, variously divides the quartet into smaller ensembles, highlighting the alternation of two sets of material throughout the work's span. Unison and octave presentation of melodic material contributes to a suggestion of folk rusticity, which is belied by the work's discursive evolving musical argument. Edinburgh Quartet.


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