Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,822 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bax's 2nd quartet was written between 1924 and 1925 and it was first performed by the New Philharmonic Quartet on London on 15th March 1927. It's a more adventurous and difficult work than it's predecessor and contrasts awkwardly with the 1st quartet. It's never gained the popularity of the 1st and is my least favourite of Bax's quartets (but don't let that put you off from exploring the work). The long, opening movement, begins angularly with a solo cello and then viola before opening up to music of a more lyrical nature and what sounds like a fractured dance and whilst I like most of Bax's exploratory passages I can't help but think he's throwing too many ideas around here and perhaps should have condensed the movement a little. The 2nd movement, lento molto expressivo, is typical of Bax, with its expressive theme and thicker textures but, again, I struggle with this movement. I find it a little confused, overstays its welcome and dare I say it, it becomes a little bit boring. The finale, Allegro Vivace, is much more interesting and engaging with the opening cello motif from the first movement being transformed. It even features two fugato passages and a muted funereal episode before returning to its initial form and ending in a fine coda.
As I said, it's not Bax's strongest work for me but there's enough to keep me entertained (as long as I miss out the middle movement). Only 2 recordings that I know of so I'll keep it short and sweet.

The Mistry Quartet surprised me with the quality of their playing on this OOP account. If you can get hold of this recording then it's well worth investigating but if you're after slightly better playing and better engineered sound then look below. Still recommendable.
The Maggini Quartet recording, on Naxos, is still widely available and its the first choice here not just on sound (which is excellent) but on performance where the Maggini dig in deeper and play with greater conviction and sincerity. They still don't manage to sell me the slow movement though (lol).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,788 Posts
as with many UK composer from 20th century, Bax's SQ are most "easy" listening to me. I come back to these quartet once in while. thanks for review and put the words on these quartet, so i can re-listen to them with new ideas in mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,788 Posts
I find Bax's 2nd quartet frustrating, tbh kas you've no doubt gathered). I like it but the 1st quartet is so strong that the 2nd ultimately feels like a let-down.
I wasn't aware that you separate the quartet review to each post.. lol. I agree, the 1st quartet is what I have in mind. the 2nd is also great in my opinion. as to the 3rd quartet (as in your other post), I didn't own that CD (Maggini) and completely never listen before. now I going to listen to it in youtube.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top