Alec Roth String Quartets

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The three quartets on this recording were composed for, and premiered by the Allegri String Quartet between 2010 and 2013. I first heard the group ‘live’ on the 6th of May 2009, in an all-Haydn concert given in the lovely surroundings of St Brandon’s Church, Brancepeth, the musical experience enhanced by the view through the clear glass windows of the trees dancing along in the late evening sunlight. The programme included Haydn’s quartet opus 71 No.2. In its first movement Allegro the instruments enter in quick succession around the circle, initiated by the cello’s bold two-note motif. This is such a striking idea. What would happen if the cello were to send round a whole barrage of such motifs. Here, thanks to Papa Haydn, I was gifted the idea for what became the fourth movement of my Quartet No.2. - Alec Roth

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"Warmly recorded, and handsomely performed by this latest incarnation of the Allegri Quartet."

“The Allegri Quartet give first rate performances of an impressive group of quartets by Alec Roth, full of fine ideas, textures and rhythms on a new release from Nimbus.”

“Before acquiring this disc my acquaintance with the music of Alec Roth was limited to two short choral pieces. I can now confirm that he has a new, unconditional, admirer. This music brings simple pleasure on a first hearing, and you then want to hear it again, immediately. Roth is in complete control of his material, and that, plus the constantly varied textures, ensure that the listener’s attention is captured at every moment. Furthermore, this is life-enhancing music that makes you smile. Each of these quartets deserves a regular hearing on the concert platform.” William Hedley,

Description: Roth has an original, interesting and approachable style. The music is tonal, often with a strongly modal flavor, and with a vivacious rhythmic insistence in the faster movements and a distinct modal contour to the eloquent melodies. This makes perfect sense when you read the composer's biography; he is an authority on gamelan music (which he studied in Indonesia), and frequent collaborator with Indian writer Vikram Seth. So if he sounds a bit like an English-accented answer to Lou Harrison or Terry Riley (with a certain amount of less persistent minimalist process), there's the reason. The combination of other influences - English folksong in the third quartet's use of an earlier John Donne setting, a sultry Milonga in the same work, the subtle (if expected) Elgar references in the fourth, the Haydnesque vivacity and humor of the second - with the drones and insistent dynamism of the music's eastern influences is a beguiling and immensely attractive one. Records International

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