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Dip Your Ears, No. 134 (The Lovely Hill)

available at Amazon
Alfred Hill,
SQ4ts 10 & 11, “Life” Quintet
Dominion Quartet / R.Mapp
Naxos 8.572844

Here’s chamber music you didn’t know you love: From Australian Alfred Hill (1869-1960), whose string quartets led Robert Reilly to call him “the Australian Dvořák.” That’s perhaps giving their earnest melodiousness a little too much credit, but the excellent if not revelatory 10th and 11th (of 17) string quartets included on this disc, passionately performed by the Dominion Quartet, reveal where Reilly got the idea. The concluding Piano Quintet “Life” and its choral finale (“Gloria in excelsis Deo”), doesn’t live up to the earthy late-romantic quartets: Performed with aching sincerity by the octet of singers, work and performance alike fall short of its ambitions. Makes you want to check out volumes one, two, and three.