JOHN ROSE - String Quartets

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JOHN ROSE - String Quartets 1 & 2 - Piano Works - The Edinburgh Quartet - Robert Melling (Piano) - 809730509223 - Released: November 2010 - Divine Art DDA25092

For those of you who are avid collectors of chamber music, or more specifically intrigued by the logical inner workings of the string quartet and are always searching for new works in the genre, this new recording on the Divine Art label of music by composer John Rose may well be your cup of tea. A composer and choir conductor born in London in 1928 who at one time studied under Edmund Rubbra. His style is very much rooted in the past and I would imagine largely influenced by his upbringing spent surrounded by organs and church choirs. There is a hint of Shostakovich in the background, not so much a direct musical influence but rather using the composer as a subject matter. Something very much in evidence in the Essay on DSCH for piano, Op. 7 and the String Quartet No. 1, Op. 14, which both use the DSCH (D/E-flat/C/B) motif as a thematic point of departure. DSCH is an acronym for Dmitri Shostakovich based on the German nomenclature of musical notation.

This music does not carry the weight of the world on its shoulders like Dmitri's, but it shares the same logical unfolding of material as in the former's 48 Preludes and Fugues for piano, with each and every motif and idea bounced around many times until everything comes to an unambiguous conclusion. Pianist Robert Melling and the Edinburgh Quartet mirror the music's clear intent and deliver a focused account.

Jean-Yves Duperron - December 2010