- String Quartet No. 4 ("On Malvern Hills")
- String Quartet No. 3 ("Autumnal")
- String Quartet No. 2
English composer Alec Roth has been best known for vocal music collaborations with Indian writer Vikram Seth. This album of string quartets, however, should bring him additional admirers. Roth's writing in these works unites different worlds: tonal and modernist, abstract and pictorial, formally classical and expressively free. The string quartet is a classical form to begin with, and Roth's quartets, in four or five movements with clearly defined subject areas that explore a single idea, evoke the genre's history. The individual movements define their programmatic content with simple single ideas (an example for sampling is the final "Ambling" movement of the "String Quartet No. 4, On Malvern Hills"), leaving Roth free to explore that simple idea in quite rigorous ways. The closest comparison is to the late works of Bartók, who, after he fled Nazism, bent his groundbreaking folk modernism to more relaxed, accessible ends. At any rate, Roth is a composer who can appeal to a wide variety of audiences, and it is to be hoped that these appealing works will help give him the chance.