Arnold Bax

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String Quartet No.1 in G Major

Arnold Bax's String Quartet No.1 in G Major was completed in 1918 and is in three movements. The opening theme to the upbeat first movement, Allgretto semplice, sounds a little like Dvorak but soon we hear the music of the music of the English countryside. Engratiating and appealing, the tonal quality of the melody is clearly more modern. The calm middle movement, Lento e molto expressivo, is warm and rather romantic. The finale, Rondo, allegro vivace, has the quality of a rustic country dance, full of energy and good spirits.


Arnold Bax (1883-1953) was born in London. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Of independent means, he never needed to teach or conduct. He was a fine pianist but his main interests were composing music and poetry. His strong affinity for Ireland led him to spend considerable time in that country which influenced his outlook and music. The 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland and its brutal suppression, which included the execution of several of his friends, was to have a profound influence upon him. He is remembered mostly for his orchestral compositions but he wrote a great deal of chamber music. His  music show many influences, perhaps the strongest of which is impressionism.


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