NORMAN O'NEILL (1875-1934): String Quartet in C, Piano Trio, Op. 32, Piano Quintet in E Minor, Theme and Variations for Piano Trio, Op. 1.
Catalogue Number: 11O060
Label: EM Records
Reference: EMR CD005
Description: O'Neill was one of the group which called themselves "the Frankfurt Gang" since they all studied at the Hoch Conservatory there at the same time: Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Balfour Gardiner and Cyril Scott. And, until now, can you name one of his works that ever appeared on CD? Known mostly as a musical director for the theatre, O'Neill wrote volumes of music for the stage but his "classical" compositions date mostly from his conservatory days and the following decade. Everything here is a World Premiere Recording and the works date from c.1893 to 1909. The earlier works are attractively modal (the string quartet and the Op. 1 Theme and Variations) while the only really large-scale work, the 28-minute piano quintet of 1904, has interesting dashes of Slavic character while the latest piece, the single-movement piano trio shows influences of Fauré and Debussy integrated with O'Neill's Germanic and English harmonic language. Bridge Quartet, Michael Dussek (piano).