York Bowen: String Quartet Nos. 2 & 3; Phantasy-Quintett

Archaeus Quartet / Timothy Lines

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York Bowen: String Quartet Nos. 2 & 3; Phantasy-Quintett Review

by Blair Sanderson

York Bowen was a British composer of the post-Romantic era, and his rich music is imbued with a combination of lush harmonies and restless chromaticism, typical of the time and comparable in feeling to the chamber music of his models, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, and Rachmaninov. This album of the String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, the String Quartet No. 3 in G major, and the Phantasy-Quintet for bass clarinet and string quartet, presents works of technical sophistication and artistic merit, though Bowen's music hasn't attained much fame or popularity, despite periodic attempts at a revival. The Archaeus Quartet is obviously sympathetic to Bowen's intellectual purposes and emotional expressions, and the group gives respectable interpretations that, despite some tentative playing, give a clear sense of Bowen's aims. Bass clarinettist Timothy Lines joins the Archaeus Quartet in the Phantasy-Quintet, and his rounded tones lend some richness to the strings' textures, which are a little overwhelmed by the resonant acoustics.

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