Posted: 24 November 2002
The Alan Bush Music Trust are raising £3000 for the issue by Redcliffe Recordings of a CD of British music
written for string quartets, in their series British Musical Heritage. The CD includes Alan Bush's Suite of Six for String Quartet Op. 81 (1975) and
works by William Byrd and Frank Bridge.
The artists are the Bochmann String Quartet with Michael Bochmann (violin), Mark Messenger (violin), Helen Roberts (viola) and Paul Adams (cello).
They performed Bush's Dialectic on Redcliffe Recording's 1997 CD, British String Quartets, and at the Centenary Concert at the Wigmore Hall in November 2000.
Alan Bush's work was commissioned by the BBC and given its first performance
by the Chilingirian Quartet at St. John's Smith Square, London on 15th December 1975 at a BBC Lunchtime Recital.
Its first concert
performance took place at the 75th Birthday Concert given by the Workers' Music Association for Alan Bush at the Wigmore Hall on 11th January 1976.
Writing about the broadcast performance, the Daily Telegraph, 16th December 1975 wrote:
"Alan Bush celebrates his 75th birthday this month and the B.B.C. have marked the occasion by
commissioning a new work, 'Suite of Six'...
This, the composer's fourth work for quartet, confirms his faith in the principles of structural
argument initiated by 'Dialectic' over 40 years ago.
The new piece is more relaxed in its succession of eight short movements than the earlier
taut structured masterpiece, but the forms are still braced by concentrated development.
The fourth movement, for instance, moves quickly from exposition into a paragraph
of considerable contrapuntal and motivic tension and then closes without a backward glance."
It is appropriate that Alan Bush's composition should be included on the CD with a work by Frank Bridge, because of the link between the two composers.
They got to know one another in about 1929 and corresponded between 1929 and 1933. Alan and Nancy Bush also visited
Frank Bridge at his home on more than one occasion. Bridge was very encouraging to Alan Bush, who at that time was a very young composer.
Alan Bush was very touched that Frank Bridge took a "kind interest" in his work, in particular, his piano
work, Relinquishment. Alan Bush, himself, went out of his
way to promote Frank Bridge's work when he was in Germany and performed two piano pieces by Frank Bridge
at a recital in Berlin, on 29th January 1931.
At this concert he also played his own work Relinquishment.
The full CD listing is:
String Quartet No.4 by Frank Bridge
Suite of Six for String Quartet (Op.81) by Alan Bush
Fantasias for Strings by William Byrd
The Trust is raising money to fund the CD, which will be issued in June 2003. For a minimum subscription of at least £13 we will send you a copy of the C.D. upon its release. All donations should be sent to:
Dr. Rachel O'Higgins
Alan Bush Music Trust
7 Harding Way
Cambridge CB2 3DA