Hill: String Quartets Vol.4 (String Quartets No. 10 & 11/ Li) (NAXOS 8.572844)
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Alfred Hill was the doyen of Australasian composers, and his exploration of the string quartet demonstrates the range of his imagination. Both the Tenth and Eleventh quartets were written in 1935, but they offer richly differing affiliations. No. 10 brings a classical formality fused with hints of Gershwin, and a remarkable last movement which recalls the three earlier movements in rapid succession in just 32 bars, whereas No. 11 marks the height of Hill's impressionist refinement, complete with a characteristically beautiful slow movement. The 'Life' Quintet, with its vocal finale, was written in 1912, a fascinating experiment later reworked into a symphony. The Dominion String Quartet was formed in 2006 specifically to record string quartets by New Zealand composers, and took its name from the centenary of the creation of the Dominion of New Zealand in 1907. This event coincided with the Christchurch International Exhibition of 1906-07 at which Alfred Hill was the conductor of the country's first full-time professional orchestra.
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