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Delius & Smyth: String Quartets

Delius & Smyth: String Quartets

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The String Quartet in E minor by Ethel Smyth, one of the most innovative and original figures in English music, has a masterful coherence and consistency. With eloquent writing for the viola in particular, it is both playful and reverential, and ends with a flourish – forthright, bold and uncompromising, like Smyth herself. Delius wrote the early String Quartet in 1888 but it was rejected for performance and he was later to reuse the Scherzo for his mature Quartet of 1916–19. In 2018 the score of the two opening movements of the 1888 Quartet, long assumed lost, reappeared at auction and have been edited and reunited with the final two in this premiere recording, which adds significantly to our understanding of Delius’s early compositional directions.


A Delius discovery is brought to life with compelling musicianship…The Villiers Quartet gives it a fine first recording, captured in warm and well-balanced sound.

-- The Strad

Full marks to the Villiers Quartet for bringing this new and challenging repertoire to life.

-- Gramophone

...what I like about this quartet very much is its questing nature – this is a kind of musical laboratory for Delius to test out ideas, nascent harmonies and textures that would define his mature music in the years ahead.

-- MusicWeb International

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: October 14, 2022

  • UPC: 747313437672

  • Catalog Number: 8574376

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Late Romantic

  • Composer: Frederick Delius, Ethel Smyth

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Villiers Quartet


  1. String Quartet in E Minor

    Composer: Ethel Smyth

    Ensemble: Villiers Quartet

  2. String Quartet in C Minor

    Composer: Frederick Delius

    Ensemble: Villiers Quartet