SJSQ bookends Canadian composer Clifford Crawley’s Quadrilles with a pair of great D Major quartets by Mozart and Respighi.

October 22, 2020, 7:30pm
Charlotte Street Arts Centre Fredericton

Saturday, October 24, 2020, 2pm
Saint John Arts Centre

October 24, 2020, 7:30pm
Community Peace Centre Moncton

Program Notes
Mozart String Quartet no. 21 in D major, K. 575
i. Allegretto
ii. Andante
iii. Menuetto-Trio
iv. Allegretto
Clifford Crawley – Quadrilles
i. pale blues
ii. once upon a time
iii. insouciance
Ottorino Respighi String Quartet in D major
i. Allegro moderato
ii. Tema con variazioni
iii. Intermezzo
iv. Finale
From Edition Silvertrust

Ottorino RespighiIt will come as a surprise to many people that the famous orchestral composer Ottorino Respighi, known for such works as the Pines and the Fountains of Rome, also wrote chamber music. But Respighi was very interested in chamber music and wrote a considerable amount. His String Quartet in D Major, which dates from 1907 and is sometimes called No.1 was actually his sixth string quartet. In all he wrote eight, as well as a string quintet and a piano quintet.

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was born in Bologna and studied violin, piano and composition at the local conservatory. Becoming a first rate viola player, he was engaged to play a season for the Imperial Orchestra in St. Petersburg where he met and subsequently studied composition with Rimsky – Korsakov. Upon his return to Italy, he took up residence in Rome where he lived for the rest of his life.

“The Quartet in D Major which was composed in 1907 was first published in 1920. It is constructed in along a clear classical structure, with appealing sentiment and is in no way difficult to play. The opening Allegro begins with an up-lifting and highly romantic main theme which is followed by a playful syncopated second theme. The second movement, Tema con variazioni, begins with a melancholy theme and are followed by a series of very interesting variations. Although Respighi subtitled the next movement Intermezzo, it is really a nervous scherzo. The finale, Allegro, begins in a dramatic fashion with a highly effective rollicking Neapolitan melody. There is much here to admire of the fine rhythmic and harmonic writing.”

This was the opinion of the esteemed chamber music scholar, Wilhelm Altman, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players. This work should be of interest to amateurs and professionals alike.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Clifford Crawley was born and educated in England. He held degrees from the University of Durham and diplomas from the Royal College of Music and Trinity College, London. He also studied briefly with composers Lennox Berkeley and Humphrey Searle. Before coming to Canada he taught in both elementary and secondary schools and was involved in teacher training as Head of Music in a College of Education.

Affiliated with the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre, he had over eighty published compositions, including a number in festival and conservatory lists. His musical style has been described as “warmly human,” “contemporary (but) accessible and eclectic” (Encyclopedia of Music in Canada 1992: 328). Eclecticism is consistent with his belief that “originality is not necessarily something new but often (the result of) looking at the familiar in a different way.”

He was Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University, having taught composition and music education there from 1973 to 1993. He worked as a music consultant in Central America and Asia, and participated in many Composer / Artist in the Classroom programs. After ten years in Toronto, he lived and enjoyed an active musical life in St. John’s, Newfoundland, until his death in February 2016.


The String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K 575, was written in June 1789 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It has acquired the nickname The Violet, used for example in  Hans Keller’s chapter of The Mozart Companion. It is the first of the Prussian Quartets.

The quartet was written for and dedicated to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II, an amateur cellist, and was written in a similar style to the quartets of Joseph Haydn. Mozart and his friend Karl Lichnowsky  met the king in Potsdam in April 1789. Mozart played before the king in Berlin on 26 May 1789, then returned to Vienna

This string quartet is a popular piece in the repertoire today. It is a piece written at the zenith of Mozart’s powers as a chamber music composer. It is considered to be in a more relaxed style than the six quartets dedicated to Haydn. The middle part of the song “Mozart’s House” by UK based indie electronic band Clean Bandit samples the piece. The song reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart on 21 April 2013.