Herbert Howells

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Piano Quartet in a minor, Op.21

"Herbert Howells' Piano Quartet in a minor, Op.21, dates from 1916 and is in three movements. It is dedicated to Choscn and his friend Ivor Gurney, the poet. Choscn is a hill lying midway between Gloucester and Cheltenham which on a clear day commands an excellent view of the Malvern Hills. The opening movement, Allegro moderato tranquillo, begins with sweeping phrases using pentatonic tonalities. Howells employs the cyclic principle and there are thematic links between each of the movements. The middle movement, Lento molto tranquillo, is elegiac and builds on a theme from the prior Allegro moderato. The finale, Allegro molto energico, is a spirited folk dance."---The Chamber Music Journal


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.

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