Canal March

Spanish Quartets: Tomás Bretón and Conrado del Campo

Cuerteto Bretón: Krzysztof Wisniewski, violin; Antonio Cárdenas, violin; Iván Martín, viola and John Stokes, cello

"Allegro no mucho", from the String Quartet n. 3 in Eminor by Tomás Bretón and “Lentamente, siempre con intensidad y patética expresión”, from the String Quartet n. 8 in E Major by Conrado del Campo

On 1 April 1910 the last string quartet composed by Tomás Bretón (1850-1923), his Quartet No. 3 in E minor, was premiered in Madrid. The importance of melody and formal references to Beethoven’s quartets are combined with “vigorous notes of a Spanish character”, as reflected in this third movement, “Allegro no mucho”. A work of undeniable interest, it remained forgotten until 13 February 2013, the date of its modern-day premiere at the Foundation. That same day also marked the world premiere of the Quartet No. 8 in E Major by Conrado del Campo (1878-1953), a landmark figure in composition, performance and music education in Madrid during the first half of the twentieth century. His extensive chamber-music output, which includes the overwhelming number of 14 string quartets, has gone virtually unnoticed. As is common in Del Campo, the third movement of this quartet, “Lentamente, siempre con intensidad y patética expresión”, is marked by a pathos of deep post-Romantic emotiveness. The relationship between literature and music, expressed in the program preceding each of the quartet’s movements, and the abundant use of chromaticism, are testimony to the composer’s Wagnerian fervour.

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