The Dominion String Quartet (DSQ) was formed in 2006, taking its name from the centenary of the creation of the Dominion of New Zealand. This event coincided with the Christchurch International Exhibition of 1906–07 at which Alfred Hill was the conductor of the country’s first full-time professional orchestra. His seventeen string quartets provided a perfect project for the DSQ as they are not only the first significant examples of the string quartet genre from Australasia, but are also very fine works of international stature. This month sees the release of the sixth and final volume in the series.
Alfred Hill was the leading Australian-born composer of the Late Romantic era. During his studies in Leipzig from 1887 to 1891, he encountered luminaries such as Brahms, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Strauss. His 17 String Quartets, the first signifiant examples of the genre from Australasia, are beautifully crafted works which draw on the legacy of European chamber music. With their Schubert-like melodies and rhythms, the outer movements of String QuartetNo. 15 frame a pair of harmonically more adventurous movements, No. 16 ‘Celtic’ includes a setting of a 17th-century Irish song followed by an Irish Jig, while the poignant No. 17 concludes with a brief quotation from Dvořák’s ‘New World Symphony’. This is the final volume of the Dominion Quartet’s acclaimed recordings of the complete Alfred Hill String Quartets.
Listen to an extract from
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor: I. Adagio – Allegro con spirito
About the Artists
Dominion String Quartet From left to right: Donald Maurice,
David Chickering, Rosemary Harris,
Yury Gezentsvey, originally from Ukraine, is a principal first violinist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician.
Rosemary Harris, previously Associate Concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and a first violinist in the Pittsburgh Symphony, plays regularly with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Donald Maurice is Professor at the New Zealand School of Music, and has been a regular performer and lecturer at international viola congresses for over two decades.
David Chickering, originally from the United States where he was a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is a former principal cellist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
“All three are first recordings; all are played with great gusto by the New Zealand-based Dominion Quartet; all are worth hearing for their superb craftsmanship and a melodic freshness which is anything but derivative.”
Listen to an extract from String Quartet No. 14 in B Minor: II. Adagio