Barbara Pentland - pre-eminent among Canadian composers post-World War 2
Barbara Pentland – pre-eminent among Canadian composers post-World War 2


. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Barbara Pentland – String Quartet Nr. 1 – Montreal String Quartet – CBC Radio Performance – 1955. CBC Transcription service.

Although she is virtually unknown in the U.S. and less well-known in her native Canada since her death in 2000, Barbara Pentland was one of the pre-eminent composers of the Post-War period in Canada. Having attended Julliard in New York in the 1930s, she also studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood during the summers of 1941 and 1942 and was introduced to the music of Hindemith and Stravinsky. After the War she came under the influence of Anton Webern and embraced an atonal style which became her career-changing point.

This weekend it’s Barbara Pentland from an earlier period. Her String Quartet Number 1 was written during the period 1944-1945 and even though it’s described as neo-classic it’s a preview of things to come. In all, she wrote 5 String quartets during her career. But her output was certainly not relegated to Quartets. Over her career she assembled a large body of work for orchestra, solo instruments and voice.

This recording comes via a broadcast performance by the newly reformed Montreal String Quartet and is recorded circa 1955.

So if you’re not familiar with the name or the music of Barbara Pentland – now you are.

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