Phantasy String Quartet, Op.25
It was during the decades between 20 and 40 that Herbert Howells focused his efforts chiefly on orchestral and chamber music. The Phantasy String Quartet dates from 1924. It features a cyclic approach to the presentation of the thematic material. It is in one continuous movement, however, it goes through many changes of mood. The melodic material is folkloric in nature and its development is similar to that which Liszt called metamorphosis.
Herbert Howells (1892-1983) was born in Lydney, Gloucestershire. His father was an amateur organist, and Herbert himself showed early musical promise. He attended the Royal College of Music where he studied with Charles Villiers, Stanford, Hubert Parry and Charles Wood. Stanford considered Howells one of his most brilliant and gifted students and persuaded him to enter the first Carnegie Trust composition competition in 1916. His Piano Quartet in a minor, Op.21 won first prize. He subsequently taught at the Royal College of Music and later at London University.