At the End of the Great War

This chamber recital of works composed at the end of WW1, represents the hopes and dreams of a new order and the confrontation of devastating loss. Over the course of the four years of war, there were more than 37 million civilian and military casualties.   Even as the conflict raged, many people recognized that they were now living in a changed society. D.H. Lawrence felt that two thousand years of civilisation were collapsing before his eyes: “so much beauty and pathos of old things passing away and no new things coming: my God, it breaks my soul.”  These were the circumstances when Edward Elgar composed his soulful String Quartet in 1918.   And the French composer Louis Vierne who lost his son in battle, found solace and transcendence in writing his epic Piano Quintet of 1917.  Also, The Dual Monarchy of Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed at the end of the First World War and with it the political basis for the ideal of a multi-ethnic Hungary.   To regain this loss, the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók sought to capture and elevate the many folk music traditions of his former territory and begin a new era of ethnomusicology research.   His String Quartet No.2, completed in 1917, is an astonishing work in a new spirited, folkloristic style.


Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

String Quartet No.2, Op.17 (Sz.67) (1917)


Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83 (1918)




Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Piano Quintet in C minor, Op.42 (1917)