Bliss: Clarinet Quintet, Etc / Maggini Quartet

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The British-based Maggini Quartet is a high-performance outfit that rides the hairpin dynamic and emotional turns of the Bliss Second String Quartet with assurance and authority. And what fine music this is! It starts with a roar, which is rapidly contradicted by softer music tinged with uncertainty. The finale again is a struggle between emotional poles, expressed in often-anguished chromaticism that recalls the pre-atonal music of Schoenberg. In contrast, the heart of the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings is a more diatonic slow movement, said to be an elegy for Bliss' clarinetist brother, who died in World War I. The Quintet's finale, which is dry-eyed and even playful, mostly banishes grief.

This overtly emotional music requires an ensemble that can not only finger, bow, and phrase unanimously, but also can feel as one. The Maggini fulfills this requirement in every bar of the music. When David Campbell joins them for the Quintet, he represents a worthy contemporary embodiment of the great British clarinet tradition of Jack Brymer, Thea King, and Frederick Thurston (for whom the Quintet was written). The clarinet usually is the driving voice in the Quintet. Campbell, who has a fluid tone that is never harsh, dominates where he is supposed to but always yields where one or more of the strings takes first place in the conversation. Again the Maggini plays with total assurance. With first-rate, wholly natural sound Naxos has succeeded in creating a budget-priced CD that would be competitive at premium prices and that bids fair to be ranked as a classic of recorded chamber music.
--Joseph Stevenson,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8557394

  • UPC: 747313239429

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Sir Arthur Bliss

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Maggini String Quartet

  • Performer: David Angel, David Campbell, Laurence Jackson, Martin Outram, Michal Kaznowski


  1. Quartet for Strings no 2 in F minor, F 26

    Composer: Sir Arthur Bliss

    Ensemble: Maggini String Quartet

    Performer: David Angel (Violin), Laurence Jackson (Violin), Michal Kaznowski (Cello), Martin Outram (Viola)

  2. Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, F 20

    Composer: Sir Arthur Bliss

    Ensemble: Maggini String Quartet

    Performer: David Angel (Violin), David Campbell (Clarinet), Laurence Jackson (Violin), Michal Kaznowski (Cello), Martin Outram (Viola)