By Karl W. Nehring
Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950) was an English composer with Irish roots. Like many English composers of his era, Moeran was a student of folk melodies and quite a lover of the outdoors – the scenes and sounds of the countryside. If you are a fan of some of pastoral works by British composers such as Vaughan Williams and Bax, you would do well to investigate the music of Moeran. Although his output was not extensive, it includes some wonderful music that deserves to be more widely performed and recorded. (As a starting point, you might want to take a quick look at reviews of his Symphony in G minor and Sinfonietta on Naxos and his Violin and Cello Concertos on Chandos in the Classical Candor archive.)
|Ernest John Moeran|
The Fantasy Quartet for oboe, violin, viola, and cello dates from 1948. It is in one movement, lasting nearly 14 minutes in this rendition, featuring oboist Nicholas Daniel. Inevitably, because of the sound of the oboe standing out from among the sound of the strings, the piece comes across as more of a reduced-forces oboe concerto than a true quartet. Still, it is a pleasant piece, at times lively, at times more subdued, but melodic and enjoyable throughout.
The sound quality is just fine. Perhaps not "audiophile grade" in terms of imaging or ambience, but certainly more than adequate to the task of conveying the beauty of the music. With four satisfying compositions that total more than 77 minutes of music and informative liner notes, this release makes a persuasive case for more widespread appreciation of the music of a largely overlooked composer, especially for those seeking musical balm in troubled times.
To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below: