The Allegri String Quartet is Britain's oldest small ensemble, celebrating its 60th birthday this year. We are looking to raise £5000 to record Alec Roth's 3 Quartets written specially for us. The recording would be made at the Menuhin School concert hall, with recording engineer Tony Faulkener. £5000 would cover recording, editing and mastering with a production run of 1000 discs.
These pieces by Alec Roth seem to connect better with audiences than any contemporary pieces I can remember. At one concert, we were asked by 13 members of the public for a recording!
This is a link to the live video of the first performance of the 3rd Quartet, live from the Salisbury Festival. There is an audio recording of the 2nd Quartet is available, also a live recording.
Review of the 4th Quartet
"Between these towering works came the world première of the Quartet No.4 by Malvern resident Alec Roth, commissioned especially by the Club with help from the Kay Trust. Roth fulfilled his brief with an expertly crafted confection whose four rather similar movements fused minimalist algorithms redolent of Steve Reich with echoes of tangos by Piazzolla and occasional snippets of Elgar that were doubtless intended as a tribute to the Club’s founder. Although comparatively lightweight in the context (something the composer himself disarmingly acknowledged,) this new quartet is certainly a worthy addition to the Allegri’s repertoire, and it was played with the same brilliance that marked the outer two works in a concert that has set the bar high for a marvellous season to come."
John Rushby-Smith, 11 October 2013 - The Hereford Times
Review: Alec Roth Premiere at Forum Theatre, Malvern3 Oct 2013 06:00David Hart reviews Alec Roth Premiere at Forum Theatre, Malvern
For any composer living in Malvern, as Alec Roth now does, the spirit of Elgar is always present. And like Elgar, who said music was all around us, Roth’s String Quartet No. 4 takes for its inspiration the evocative atmosphere of the Malvern Hills.
However, the quartet – commissioned by Malvern Concert Club with funds from The Kay Trust, and premiered most persuasively by the Allegri Quartet – is refreshingly free of the English pastoralism perpetuated by some present-day composers. Roth does inscribe the score with lines from ‘Vision of Piers Plowman,’ but these serve merely to hint at the quartet’s content and style.
So no bird songs, babbling brooks or folky tunes – and long-winded ruminations are definitely out. Instead, Roth adopts a minimalist approach, with repeated rhythms, gentle syncopations, bite-sized themes and modal harmonies employed to create mood and meaning.
It’s an attractively compact, modest work in which ideas progress with a formal logic that helps the listener anticipate what is coming next. For example, there’s a clear recapitulation in the first movement; and the drifting wisps of melody that open the third (misty mornings, perhaps?) are revisited at its close.
Even more satisfying is the elegiac finale, where ingenuous note-patterns and a rising 5-note ostinato suggest bigger things to come, but instead gently evaporate into nothingness, ending with the haunting glissando harmonics we heard at the start.