Alan Rawsthorne’s three published String Quartets mark the progression of style and language at salient points during his compositional career. String Quartet No. 1 is an early example of Rawsthorne’s partiality for variation form. String Quartet No. 2 is more succinct and precise in expression and form, while the many-layered String Quartet No. 3, an austere work of unremitting intensity, is characteristic of the final period of Rawsthorne’s creative output.
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