English composer John Ireland (1879–1962) drew his inspiration from the poetry and landscapes of his native land. He emerged as a celebrated composer near the end of World War I with the two string quartets on this disc, modelled after the late quartets of Beethoven and Brahms. The Holy Boy, one of his most beloved works, was written on Christmas Day, 1913, and is here adapted for string quartet. This Gramophone "Editor's Choice" recording received much critical acclaim.
"His future as a song composer shows in the slower movements, which have a gentle, melancholy lyricism and more than a touch of the English countryside. The scherzos, too, are buoyant and joyful. The Maggini Quartet, which has been making a specialty of British composers for Naxos, performs these quartets as if they were lost gems."—The Globe and Mail
"The recording is excellent, and Andrew Burn's notes are first-rate."—International Record Review
"These quartets are good pieces, with structure, inspiration, spirit, and good tunes—all with enough English lyricism to give them their own sound."—American Record Guide
"The Maggini Quartet … play such rarely heard music with a conviction and spontaneity that would suggest it is part of its normal repertory. Balance between instruments is impeccable, allowing much inner detail to emerge that serves the music well. This is much helped by the clarity of the recording."—The Strad