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Andrew McGregor with Laura Tunbridge and Tom McKinney

Building a Library on Debussy's String Quartet, plus Tom McKinney reviews new releases by contemporary composers

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Laura Tunbridge picks a personal favourite from among the recordings of Debussy's String Quartet

Claude Debussy wrote his only string quartet in 1893 when he was 31 years old. After abandoning his opera Rodrigue et Chimène, he planned to write two string quartets. But this was the only one he completed. It is full of sensual and impressionistic harmonies. Debussy wrote that "any sounds in any combination and in any succession are henceforth free to be used in a musical continuity."

Andrew and Tom McKinney discuss the latest batch of new releases of music by contemporary composers

Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week.

3 hours, 13 minutes

Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Italian Concerto in F BWV971: 1st Movement

    Performer: Federico Colli.
    • Chandos.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    String Sonata No.6 in D major: I. Allegro spiritoso

    Performer: Minna Pensola. Performer: Antti Tikkanen. Performer: Tuomas Lehto. Performer: Niek de Groot.
    • BIS.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Chandos Te Deum, HWV281 (opening)

    Singer: Grace Davidson. Singer: Charles Daniels. Singer: Nicholas Mulroy. Singer: Benedict Hymas. Singer: Edward Grint. Orchestra: London Handel Orchestra. Conductor: Adrian Butterfield.
    • Onyx Classics.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Violin concerto in D minor: III. Allegro

    Performer: Henry Raudales. Orchestra: Münchner Rundfunkorchester.
    • BR-KIassik.
  • Hector Berlioz

    Romeo and Juliet, Op.17 Part 2: No.4 'Scherzo: Queen Mab'

    Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony. Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Choir: San Francisco Symphony Chorus.
    • SFS Media.
  • Fernande Decruck

    Saxophone Sonata in C sharp minor: I. Très modéré

    Performer: Dominic Childs. Performer: Simon Callahan.
    • Resonus Classics.
  • Wilhelm Stenhammar

    Symphony No 2 in G minor Op.34: I. Allegro energico

    Orchestra: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt.
    • BIS.
  • Karol Szymanowski

    Chant de Roxane

    Performer: Jennifer Pike. Performer: Peter Lonov. Music Arranger: Jody Kochansky.
    • Chandos.
  • Felix Woyrsch

    Symphony No.4 in F Op.71: II. Langsam, ausdruckvoll

    Orchestra: NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Dorsch.
    • CPO.
  • Joe Cutler


    Ensemble: Fidelio Trio.
    • NMC.
  • Joe Cutler

    Karembeu's Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder

    Performer: Iain Ballamy. Orchestra: Emulsion Sinfonietta.
    • NMC.
  • Linda Catlin Smith


    Ensemble: Apartment House.
    • Another Timbre.
  • Linda Catlin Smith

    Warblework I (Swainson's Thrush)

    Ensemble: Apartment House.
    • Another Timbre.
  • Bryn Harrison

    Piano Quintet

    Performer: Philip Thomas. Ensemble: Quatuor Bozzini.
    • Huddersfield Contemporary Records.
  • Mathew Adkins

    Still Juniper Snow: II - Distant Waters

    Performer: Sarah-Jane Summers. Ensemble: Quatuor Bozzini.
    • Huddersfield Contemporary Records.
  • Kaija Saariaho


    Performer: Jennifer Koh. Performer: Nicholas Hodges.
    • Cedille.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    Graal Theatre I

    Performer: Jennifer Koh. Ensemble: Curtis 20/21 Ensemble. Conductor: Connor Gray Covington.
    • Cedille.
  • Toivo Tulev

    I said, Who are you? - He said, You

    Performer: Age Juurikas. Orchestra: Tallinna Kammerorkester. Conductor: Kaspar Putnins. Singer: Ka Bo Chan.
    • Naxos.
  • Toivo Tulev

    Magnificat (COMPLETE TRACK)

    Performer: Heigo Rosin. Performer: Vambola Krigul. Orchestra: Tallinna Kammerorkester. Conductor: Kaspar Putnins. Choir: Latvian Radio Choir.
    • Naxos.
  • Gerald Barry

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    Singer: Barbara Hannigan. Singer: Hilary Summers. Orchestra: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Conductor: Thomas Adès.
    • NMC.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Violin Concerto in E major, BWV1042

    Performer: Shunske Sato. Ensemble: Il Pomo d’Oro.
    • Erato.

Record Review


Rossini: Sonatas for Strings Nos.4-6; Hoffmeister: String quartet Nos.3 & 4
Minna Pensola (violin)
Antti Tikkanen (violin)
Tuomas Lehto (cello)
Niek de Groot (double bass)
BIS-2318 (Hybrid SACD)

JS Bach: Partita IV, Italian Concerto BWV 971, Chaconne from Partita II, BWV 1004 arr. Busoni
Federico Colli (piano)
Chandos CHAN20079 

Handel: Te Deum, O Magnify the Lord
Grace Davidson (soprano)
Charles Daniels (tenor)
Nicholas Mulroy (tenor)
Benedict Hymas (tenor)
Edward Grint (bass)
London Handel Orchestra (orchestra)
Onyx Classics ONYX 4203 

Mendelssohn: Concerto for violin in d minor, String Symphonies Nos.1-6
Henry Raudales (violin and conductor)
Munich Radio Orchestra
BR KIassik 900324


9.30am – Building a Library – Laura Tunbridge on Debussy’s String Quartet 

Composer: Claude Debussy
Reviewer: Laura Tunbridge

Recommended Recording:

Arcanto Quartett
Harmonia Mundi HMC902067

Other Recommended Recordings:

Alban Berg Quartet
EMI CDC7473472 

Talich Quartet

Quatuor Hermès
LDV 33

Quatuor Danel

Quatuor Ébène
Erato 5190452

10.20am – New Releases

Berlioz: Romeo and Juliet
Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano)
Nicholas Phan (tenor)
Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone)
San Francisco Symphony Chorus
SFS Media 821936-0074-2 (2 Hybrid SACDs)

‘Tableaux de Provence’ – Works for saxophone by Debussy, Decruck, Maurice & Borne
Dominic Childs (saxophone)
Simon Callaghan (piano)
Resonus Classics RES10231

Stenhammar: Symphony No.2 & Serenade in F major
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Herbert Blomstedt (conductor)
BIS-2424 (Hybrid SACD)

‘The Polish Violin’ – Works for violin by Karlowicz, Szymanowski, Wieniawski & Moszkowski
Jennifer Pike (violin)
Petr Limonov (piano)
Chandos CHAN 20082

Felix Woyrsch: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5
NDR Radiophilharmonie
Thomas Dorsch (conductor)
CPO 555 063-2

11am – New Releases: Tom McKinney on Contemporary Releases

Joe Cutler: Elsewhereness, McNulty, For Frederic Lagnau, Akhmatova Fragments, Sikorski B & Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (conductor)
Fidelio Trio
Workers Union Ensemble
Sarah Leonard (soprano)
Project Instrumental (ensemble)
Daniele Rosina (conductor)
Noszferatu (ensemble)
Emulsion Sinfonietta (ensemble)
NMC D246

Linda Catlin Smith: Morning Glory, Music for John Cage, Stare at the River, Knotted Silk, Sarabande, Velvet, Wanderer & Light and water
Apartment House (ensemble)
Jack Sheen (conductor)
Another Timbre AT130

Cassandra Miller: Just So, Warblework, About Bach, Leaving
Clemens Merkel (violin)
Alissa Cheung (violin)
Stephanie Bozzini (viola)
Isabelle Bozzini (cello)
Another Timbre AT129

‘Bozzini+’ – Bryn Harrison: Piano Quintet; Mary Bellamy: beneath an ocean of air; Monty Adkins: Still Juniper Snow
Quatuor Bozzini
Philip Thomas (piano)
Sarah-Jane Summers (fiddle)
Huddersfield Contemporary Records HCR19CD

Kaija Saariaho: Tocar, Cloud Trio, Light and Matter, Aure & Graal Théâtre
Jennifer Koh (violin)
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Cedille CDR 90000 183

Toivo Tulev: Suvine Vihm (Summer Rain), Legatissimo, Tanto gentile, ‘I said, Who are You – He said, You’, ‘Flow, my Tears’ & Magnificat
Latvian Radio Choir
Talinn Chamber Orchestra
Kaspars Putnins (conductor)
Naxos 8.573735


11.45am – Disc of the Week

JS Bach: Violin Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 5 plus Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor
Shunske Sato (violin)
Zefira Valova (violin II)
Il Pomo d’Oro (ensemble)
Erato 0190295633875,0190295633875/shunske-sato-bach-violin-concertos


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