Monday, April 27, 2015

Felix Blumenfeld - Theophil Richter - String Quartets (2015)

Composers: Felix Blumenfeld (1863-1936) , Theophil Richter (1872-1941)
Performer: Odessa String Quartet
Label: Naxos America
Release: May 2015

Theophil Richter is father of great Soviet pianist Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997).  Theophil Richter worked in Odessa at the St. Paul's Church, at the opera and at the conservatory and fell 1941 Stalinist repression victims. According to Sviatoslav, Theophil indeed lived in Vienna for about 20 years. This string quartet in one of Theophil's many composition. While Felix Blumenfeld is widely known as Russian pianist and composer. String Quartet in F major Op.26 by Felix will be world premiere as recording by Odessa String Quartet, all together in this CD. The works will be a valuable addendum to our extensive knowledge of late Romantic era string quartet.

CD notes;
Aside from some smaller piano pieces, the String Quartet in F major is the only remaining composition by Theofil Richter, father of pianist Sviatoslav Richter, who preserved the manuscript. In this work, Theofil Richter presented his compositional mastery in the sophisticated genre of the string quartet. Felix Blumenfelds String Quartet Op. 26 in F major (1898) captured first prize of the St. Petersburg Chamber Music Society (Russia). This powerful piece is characterized by a wealth of melodic imagination. The Odessa String Quartet gives these works their world premiere recordings. 

Theophil Richter (1872–1941) ; Felix Blumenfeld (1863–1936): String Quartets
World Premiere Recordings - BUY IT HERE

Odessa String Quartet:
Natalya Litvinova & Leonid Piskun (Vl)
Iya Komarova (Va)
Sergei Scholz (Vc)

Theophil Ricter String Quartet in F major
1 Moderato 08:51
2 Andante 06:28
3 Tempo giusto à la Valse 08:40
4 Allegro 06:32

Felix Blumenfeld String Quartet F major, op. 26

5 Allegro 06:41
6 Presto 05:40
7 Andantino 07:05
8 Finale. Allegro molto 07:39

  Total Time: 57:39

Carl Czerny - String Quartets (2015)

Composer: Carl Czerny (1791-1857)
Performer : Sheridan Ensemble
Label: Capriccio
Release: May 2015

This is an important release of Carl Czerny's string quartet cycle. It is only believe that Czerny composed about 20 of string quartets as mentioned in Wikipedia. Not much details is known afterward. The only famous is String Quartet in C minor, edited by Bernard Pauler only in 2006. Apparently now, a project to recorded some of Czerny's quartets is on the way. We got a beautiful 2 CD of the quartets done by Sheridan Ensemble. As the book notes :

Known as a piano teacher, with whose works almost every piano pupil should be familiar and possibly also as a pupil of Beethoven, Carl Czerny enjoys practically no fame as a composer today. The composing maniac (round about 800 published works) acquired a great reputation (and wealth) from piano teaching and writing educational works for the piano and compositions the market expected from him and from which he earned a lot of money. At the moment, seven quartets are recorded, four of which were probably intended for publication. Czerny composed in the tradition of Haydn and Beethoven. Echoes of Mendelssohn can be discerned as well as a romantic style full of drama and profundity of expression. The quartets have only been passed down as manuscripts from Czernys estate, which can be found in the archives of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna. 

Seven quartets being recorded! So, we'll see at least one more volume of Carl Czerny's quartet. Sample can be heard on Sheridan Ensemble website. As the website suggest, Sheridan Ensemble is found by cellist Anna Carewe and probably based in Germany (?) and they are not exclusively string quartet but rather, an ensemble.

Carl Czerny - String Quartets  WORLD PREMIERE
Sheridan Ensemble - BUY IT HERE
CD 1
1. String Quartet in A Minor: I. Allegro espressivo ma animato
2. String Quartet in A Minor: II. Andante espressivo
3. String Quartet in A Minor: III. Scherzo. Vivace
4. String Quartet in A Minor: IV. Finale. Quasi presto
5. String Quartet in D Minor: I. Allegro moderato
6. String Quartet in D Minor: II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
7. String Quartet in D Minor: III. Adagio
8. String Quartet in D Minor: IV. Finale. Allegro non troppo
CD 2
9. String Quartet in D Major: I. Allegro molto vivace e giocoso
10. String Quartet in D Major: II. Andantino quasi allegretto
11. String Quartet in D Major: III. Scherzo. Molto vivace
12. String Quartet in D Major: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace
13. String Quartet in E Minor: I. Allegro affetuoso
14. String Quartet in E Minor: II. Andante poco sostenuto
15. String Quartet in E Minor: III. Scherzo. Vivace - Trio. Un poco tranquillo
16. String Quartet in E Minor: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace

Christian Ernst Graf - Five String Quartets (2015)

Composer: Christian Ernst Graf (1723 – 1804)
Performer : Via Nova Quartet
Label: CPO
Release: May 2015

CPO has once again show their attention to unknown Classical era of string quartet pieces. Christian Ernst Graf, only known as German Kappelmeister and composer has been recorded to has at least six string quartets composition. Via Nova Quartet is the one who going to premiere his composition into a record. The CD notes said:

About Christian Ernst Graf (1723-1804) little is known, but we do have sources enabling an understanding of his music. Just prior to Graf's death, H. C. Koch published the most important music lexicon of his times. Like this lexicon, Graf's music documents the eventful stylistic developments from baroque to classicism. Graf's clear, intelligent music links all sorts of heterogeneous melodic ideas, sequences, varies or imitates them in playful alternation and provides contrast with chromatic counterparts. The Via Nova Quartet interprets his five string quartets on historical instruments. 

The exact tracks and information about this CD is also little known at the moment. Let's hope we can quickly heard this exciting neglected pieces.

Christian Ernts Graf - Five String Quartets

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Joachim Raff - String Quartets Nos 2,3,4,8 - Mannheimer String Quartet (2015)

Composer: Joachim Raff (1822-1882)
Performer: Mannheimer String Quartet
Label: CPO
Release: March 2015

Although we already exposed to Raff's string quartet via the Quartetto Milano records, here comes one more recording of Raff. The highlight of this CD is the quartet No.8. As we know, Joachim Raff write a three part string quartet "sub cycle" in his late quartets, starting with quartet No.6 in C minor "Suite in Ancient Style", No.7 in D minor "Die schöne Müllerin / The Maid of the Mill", and No.8 in "Suite in Canon Form". This CD is one of known recording for quartet Nos 8. The works is a giant composition creativeness by Raff.

Joachim Raff himself is unique character. He was living exactly in the height of Romantic era, having full access to Liszt as his teacher, then most probably Clara Schumann all the way to Richard Strauss. His eight string quartets are all ambitious in composition.

Joachim Raff: String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 4 & 8
Mannheimer Streichquartett - CPO


1. String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 90: I. Rasch, jedoch ruhig 15:02
2. String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 90: II. Rasch 07:05
3. String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 90: III. Langsam, doch nicht schleppend 09:28
4. String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 90: IV. Rasch 09:08

5. String Quartet No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 136: I. Allegro 12:09
6. String Quartet No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 136: II. Allegro con moto 05:08
7. String Quartet No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 136: III. Andante con moto 10:17
8. String Quartet No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 136: IV. Allegro con spirito 06:03


1. String Quartet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 137: I. Allegro patetico 09:46
2. String Quartet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 137: II. Allegro, non troppo vivo, quasi allegretto 03:48
3. String Quartet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 137: III. Andante 09:56
4. String Quartet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 137: IV. Finale: Presto  06:58

"Suite in Canonic Form"
5. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3,  I. Marsch: Allegro 04:31
6. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, II. Sarabande: Andante, moderato assai 02:19
7. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, III. Capriccio: Vivace 02:28
8. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, IV. Arie (Doppelkanon): Quasi larghetto 04:43
9. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, V. Gavotte und Musette: Allegro 02:06
10. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, VI. Menuett: Allegro molto 03:32
11. String Quartet No. 8 in C Major, Op. 192, No. 3, VII. Gigue: Allegro 02:58

Thursday, November 13, 2014

List of Johann Baptist Vanhal's String Quartets

Johann Baptist Wanhal (May 12, 1739 – August 20, 1813), also spelled Waṅhal or in original Jan Krtitel Vanhal, believed to written more than seventy string quartets. Many also reported to be over 100+, but this figure may be exaggerated. Yet the complete list will probably never known. I try to find more information on this subject and only found this by the moment I write. Vanhal most popular works is his Op. 33 quartets, and  his late non-opus number for 'Hoffmeister' publisher, therefore known as Hoffmester quartets. In records, there are 12 Opuses with 6 string quartets, and then registered 6 quartets with no opus number. Total is 78 string quartets of Johann Baptist Vanhal.

Here are the known quartets :

6 String Quartets Op.1 - (1769 Paris)
No.1  in ?
No.2 in ?
No.3 in G major - [rec. by Kubin String Quartet]
No.4 in C minor (1769) - [rec. by Lotus String Quartet]
No.5 in ?
No. 6 in F major Bryan F6 (1771)

6 String Quartets Op.2 - (1769 Paris)
No.3 in B flat major - [rec. by Kubin String Quartet]

6 String Quartets Op.4 - (1779 Berlin)
No.1 in G major (1780)

6 String Quartets Op.6 (1771-2 Paris)
No.1 in F major Bryan F14 -  [rec. by Kubin String Quartet]
No.2 in  E major -  [rec. by Kubin String Quartet]
No.6 in B flat major -  [rec. by Kubin String Quartet]

6 String Quartets Op.9 - (1772 Paris)
No.1 in ?

6 String Quartets Op.11 (1782 Berlin)
Notes: Udgivet som " 6 quatuors concertants" (Berlin 1782) - også som op.26 (Paris).
No.1 in ?

6 String Quartets Op.13 (1773 Paris)
No.1 in E flat major -  [rec. by Kubin String Quartet] [Stamic Quartet]

6 String Quartets Op.21 (1775-9 Paris)
No.1 in ?

6 String Quartets Op.24 (1779 Paris)
No.1 in ?

6 String Quartets Op.28 (1778 Paris)
No.1 in ?

6 String Quartets Op.33 (1785 Wien)
No.2 in A Major -  [ Lotus String Quartet, Camesina Quartet , Stamic Quartet]
No.3 in F Major - [rec. by Camesina Quartet]

6 Quatours, "Hoffmeister":
No. 2 in E-Flat Major  (1786) - [rec. by Lotus String Quartet, Camesina Quartet]

String Quartet in A major, Bryan A4
String Quartet in C major, Bryan C1
String Quartet in E-flat major
String Quartet in F major, Bryan F6
String Quartet in G major, W.Va:G8 (1780) - [rec. by Lotus String Quartet] [Stamic Quartet]

There were currently only four best known Vanhal recordings:
Stamic Quartet - Supraphone
Kubin Quartet - Multisonic
Camesina Quartet  - Musik Manufaktur Berlin (MMB)
Lotus String Quartet - CPO

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vanhal : Four String Quartets - Lotus String Quartets (2014)

Johann Baptist Vanhal (May 12, 1739–August 20, 1813)
Performer : Lotus String Quartet
Label: CPO
Release: November 2014

As the string quartet communities geared up for an awake of Classical-era bombing, Johann Baptist Vanhal's is surely one of the composer to dig on. As mentioned in this blog-post before, Vanhal produced nonetheless than hundred string quartets. Those recording of Vanhal included the Kubik quartet for his early string quartets, Stamic Quartet and then the Camesina quartet for the late. In between of them, here Lotus string quartet, whose going to performed and recorded Vanhal four string quartets. The four quartets are two earlier works, in C minor Op.1/4 and in G Major. Then two late quartets, in A op.33/2 and in E flat 'Hoffmeister'. Dubiously the last two are already heard and recorded by Camesina quartet. Surely the Japan team has new interpretation and sounds for these new favorite quartets. Lastly, don't let this Haydenesque quartet unheard by you, grab the CD now.

Read the CD passage:
"Vanhal was one of the most productive composers of the eighteenth century, writing around 1,377 works; including sixty string quartets. The Lotus String Quartet, winners of the International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, interpret four of those quartets here. The press commented ‘Japanese perfection, coupled with German depth of feeling’."

Lotus String Quartet:

Sachiko Kobayashi, 1st Violin (Joannes Tononi 1699)
Mathias Neundorf, 2nd Violin (Andreas Guarnerius 1680)
Tomoko Yamasaki, Viola (Alfonso Della Corte 1870)
Chihiro Saito, Cello (Carlo F. Landolfi 1755)

See List of Vanhal's String Quartets


Johann Baptist Vanhal: Four String Quartet
Lotus String Quartet

String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 4
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adagio
III. Minuetto - Trio
IV. Allegro

String Quartet in G Major
I. Allegro molto moderato
II. Aria I-II
III. Adagio
IV. Allegro moderato

String Quartet in A Major, Op. 33, No. 2
I. Allegro moderato
II. Arietta I-II
III. Adagio sostenuto
IV. Rondo: Allegro molto

6 Quatours, "Hoffmeister": No. 2 in E-Flat Major
I. Allegro con fuoco
II. Adagio
III. Allegro

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bartolomeo Campagnoli Six String Quartets - Ensemble Symposium (2014)

Bartolomeo Campagnoli (1751 – 1827)
Six String Quartets
Performer: Ensemble Symposium
Label: Brilliant Classics
Release: October 2014
Buy it Here - AMAZON

Bartolomeo Campagnoli, mostly noted as student of Giuseppe Tartini and Pietro Nardini, was Italian violinist-composer that known for his violin concerto. With the resurrections of Italian Classical era composer in string quartet era, we got his six string quartets being recorded. Known for its budget recording, Brilliant Classics stand up for this task and the performer is Ensemble Symposium.

All six string quartets still in three movement form. Read the CD notes :

First recording of the string quartets by Campagnoli.

Bartolomeo Campagnoli (1751-1827) learned his trade with famous Italian musicians Tartini and Nardini. As a virtuoso on the violin he travelled Europe, where he held several important posts in Freising (Bavaria), Dresden and Stockholm, before settling as Kapellmeister of the famous Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig.

Campagnoli claimed for himself gthe german learnedness with Italian soulh, and his string quartets, the relatively new and ghoth genre of his days (with Joseph Haydn as the supreme creator and master), abound in lyrical melodies set into the firm musical structures of the first Viennese School.

Simone Laghi, leader of the Ensemble Symposium, did extensive research into the music of Campagnoli, and prepares its first Edition. Their masterful performances breath historical insight and pure delight in the musicfs originality. Extensive liner notes written by Simone Laghi.

String quartets came into their own in the latter half of the 18th century, and this brand new genre became an irresistible temptation to many composers, not least the young Italian Bartolomeo Campagnoli.

The six quartets featured on this disc are bursting with vitality and innovation, as Campagnoli’s penchant for playful melodic lines (especially in the first violin) comes thrillingly to the fore. The composer’s roots in northern Italy, particularly in Padua and Florence, were carried with him as he travelled around northern Europe, settling at various points in Stockholm, Dresden and
Hanover. This led to Campagnoli’s own assertion that he combined ‘German learnedness with Italian soul’, a truly pleasurable mixture perfectly suited to the string quartet genre.

Ensemble Symposium are experts in Campagnoli’s repertoire, with founder Simone Laghi currently preparing a critical edition of the composer’s six string quartets for publication in the USA. The group’s masterful and compelling performance is a testament to their extensive historical studies, as they strive to create a strong link between research and active interpretation, with
striking results.

Brilliant Classics 95037BR

Bartolomeo Campagnoli Six String Quartets:  - BUY IT HERE-

String Quartet No. 2 in B-Flat Major I. Allegro
II. Andante moderato
III. Rondò. Allegro

String Quartet No. 5 in F Major
I. Allegro spiritoso
II. Andante
III. Rondò. Allegro

String Quartet No. 6 in C Major
I. Variazioni. Largo
II. Allegro maestoso
III. Allegro moderato

String Quartet No. 4 in E-Flat Major
I. Allegro
II. Andantino
III. Allegro moderato

String Quartet No. 3 in G Major
I. Allegro non tanto
II. Larghetto
15 III. Presto assai

String Quartet No. 1 in D Major
I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Rondò. Allegro

Another Italian Classical Era string quartets - Bartolomeo Campagnoli