WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934-1992): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 38, No. 2, Op. 84 and No. 3, Op. 97.
Catalogue Number: 07K094
Description: The first quartet is a tightly argued, discursive work, in one movement, in which disjunct musical material is presented and then set into argumentative motion, suggesting sonata-form but with a degree of harmonic freedom that rejects the implied tonal progression, though the work is certainly grounded in tonality. The second occupies a less experimental position in Mathias' output, and employs considerably modified mediæval vocal music as an important component of its thematic material. Structurally it is more conventional than the first, in the customary four movements, and is substantially more tonal, with an especially affecting slow movement and a driven fugato-rondo finale. The third continues along the same formal outlines though without the use of quoted material, the first movement an extended sonata form, the dark-hued lyricism of the slow movement suggesting Shostakovich. The finale sets serious fugal material and lighter scherzando music at odds, and the movement consists of a lively tussle between the two before the music comes to a resounding conclusion. Medea Quartet.