Sellick, Phyllis

Phyllis Sellick was a British pianist and teacher, best known for her partnership with her pianist husband Cyril Smith. Born at Ilford, Essex, Phyllis Sellick started to play the piano by ear at the age of three and had her first music lesson on her fifth birthday. Four years later she won the Daily Mirror's "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred" contest for young musicians and was awarded two years' private tuition with Cuthbert Whitemore, subsequently winning an open scholarship to continue her study with him at the Royal Academy of Music. She later studied with Isidor Philipp in Paris. She specialised in French and English music.

Zorian Quartet

Zorian Quartet
String Quartet
The Zorian Quartet was an English all-female string quartet ensemble. It was founded in 1942 by and named after violinist Olive Zorian. It gave the premiere performances of, and made the first recordings of, several compositions for string quartet by English composers, including Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett. It also gave the premiere English performances of quartets by Ernest Bloch and Béla Bartók. The original members were Olive Zorian (1916–65, violin I); Marjorie Lavers (violin II); Winifred Copperwheat (1905–76, viola); and Norina Semino (cello). Some sources say that the quartet disbanded in 1949. Other sources say that it continued to perform for at least another ten years. The later date is supported by evidence that the violinist Frances Mason and the cellist Eleanor Warren were members of the Zorian Quartet in the 1950s.

Goehr, Walter

The conductor Walter Goehr was born in Berlin in 1903, where he was later a pupil of Arnold Schoenberg. He became a conductor at the Berliner Rundfunk between 1925 and 1931, emigrating to the United Kingdom in 1933. Between 1933 and 1939 he was a conductor and music director of Columbia Records. In 1942 Goehr became a conductor, composer and arranger for the BBC, and from 1943 was on the staff at Morley College in London. He also conducted the UK premiere of Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie in 1953. Walter died in City Hall, Sheffield, on December 4th 1960, immediately after conducting a performance of Handel's Messiah. Walter's son, Alexander Goehr, is a composer living in the United Kingdom.
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To mark the centenary of Tippett's birth in 2005, this disc presents for the first time on CD three premiere recordings of his music from the 1940s: the Concerto for Double String Orchestra (recorded 1943) conducted by Walter Goehr; the Fantasy Sonata for Piano, performed in 1941 by Phyllis Sellick; and the String Quartet No.2, recorded in 1947 by the Zorian Quartet. Also included is the first recording of Tallis's 40-part motet Spem in alium, recorded in 1948 with Tippett himself conducting the choir of Morley College, London.


"The anthology of premiere recordings ... is truly historic. Walter Goehr's 1943 recording of the Double Concerto - co-produced by Benjamin Britten while Tippett was in prison as a conscientious objector - seems to use only a small number of players, but has a gripping intensity. ... NMC's presentation of these discs is impeccable; Anthony Burton's notes add up to a substantial and fascinating essay on early Tippett recordings."
BBC Music Magazine


Fantasy Sonata: Recorded 1941 at Decca's London studios for Rimington, Van Wyck

Concerto for Double String Orchestra: Recorded in summer 1943 at Levy's Sound Studios, 73 New Bond Street, London W1
String Quartet No.2: recorded on 18-20 December 1947 by the Zorian Quartet
Spem in alium: recorded at HMV's Abbey Road studios on 7 October 1948

Tansfers: Martin Cotton
Remastering: Simon Haram

Cover image: Michael Tippett, July 1943, by Elliott & Fry (National Portrait Gallery)

(P) 2005 NMC Recordings Ltd

Schott Music
Catalogue number:
NMC D103
Release Date:
1 January 2005