(1947 broadcast, CD
(1998, CD )
Francis/English String Qt
(1984, CD )
by Barry Marsh
By 1946 Moeran had achieved
a considerable reputation. With three major works behind
him - a symphony and two concertos - he now resumed work on a second
symphony for John Barbirolli. There were other projects in gestation;
first sketches for "Leon's oboe piece" - a request from Leon Goossens
- were made in March, but just as soon laid aside.
A visit to old haunts in Norfolk in early May seems
to have have rekindled Moeran's interest. "I have now decided that
the work will be a Quartet... I think I am getting the shape of
it. Anyhow, I want the weekend to let the general atmosphere soak
in" he wrote to his wife. To Dick Jobson at Radnor he wrote: "I
board and lodge in this little pub overlooking Rockland Broad...
in the evening I go out rowing on these 'Lonely Waters'... this
reedy neighbourhood seems to suggest oboe music". Norfolk had been
Moeran's childhood home; the opening idea immediately recalls the
style of the A minor String Quartet composed there in 1921.
The whole work is cast in the form of a fantasy, a
single movement evolving from one melodic shape, although there
are two clearly defined sections coloured by snatches of Norfolk
folksong. "Sunshine over rural England" was how The Times critic
applauded it at the first performance by Leon Goossens and the Carter
String Trio on December 8th 1946.
"I board and lodge in this little
pub overlooking Rockland Broad... in the evening I go out rowing
on these 'Lonely Waters'... this reedy neighbourhood seems to
suggest oboe music"