Queensland State String Quartet

  • HILL, ALFRED FRANCIS (1869-1960), musician, was born on 16 December 1869 at Richmond, Melbourne, Australia.

    Hill was active as a violin pedagogue, recitalist, chamber music performer, but principally as conductor of choirs and orchestras, including the Wellington Orchestral Society, Royal Comic Opera Company and Auckland Orchestral Society.

    In the first phase of his creativity, Hill wrote mainly for the theatre, including comic operas. During a period in New Zealand, he recorded Maori music and for many years tried to found an institute of Maori studies at Rotorua and worked for the New Zealand conservatorium of music. He was also deputy conductor of the New South Wales State Orchestra in 1919-22. From 1924 he played in the a conservatorium quartet.

    Hill visited the United States of America and Britain in 1926. He also conducted his own works for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.

    Between 1924 and 1938 Hill concentrated on composing string quartets and concertos for piano, violin, viola, French horn and trumpet. His best-known concert work is the Viola Concerto (1940). The soloist is offered an exceptionally graceful part, emphasizing both the lyrical and virtuoso personality of the instrument.

    Devoting all his time to composing from 1937, Hill composed chamber music pieces as well as twelve symphonies.

    Queensland State String Quartet, 1944-48

    The Queensland State String Quartet was formed in August 1944.

    The Quartet, comprised Ernest Llewellyn, Harold Taberner, David Powell and Don Howley.

    Columbia (Australia) recorded Hill's Quartet No.11 during the mid/late 1940's.

    Quartet No.11 in D Minor (5 sides)
    Two Gaelic Sketches (1 side)
    Columbia Gramaphone, Australian Pressing, (Black Label) DOX 748-750
    Performed by the Queensland State String Quartet
    Matrixes: CTX 1076, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81
    Recorded circa, 1945-48

    Here the recording: http://www.78rpmcommunity.com/beta/music/album/106/hill-quartet-no-11-in-d-minor

    Exceptionally quiet sides (which were a characteristic of Australian 78 pressings), make these two excepts a treat to hear. It seems many readers will be pleasantry surprised by the diverse and rich 78rpm heritage of recording in Australia. Initial experiments date back to the end of the 19th century. Full scale recording of Australian artists started in the early 1920's. HMV opened a pressing facility in the 1930's in Sydney. Recordings of classical works - both well-known and by Australian composers were quite proficient. Both HMV and particularly Columbia recorded many classical works by Australian composers in the 1940's. Surprisingly, only a few of these recordings were released as part of the International HMV DB red label series towards the end of the 78rpm era in the UK and the continent.