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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 20 Recommended Romantic String Quartet Composers You'll Need to Know

I always want to write this one down. List of important string quartet repertoire, which is almost identically as string quartet composers, that you will also extremely need to know. That's say, this list try to exclude the stable, canonic, over played, over recorded string quartet repertoire from mega-famous composers:

Joseph Hayden
Wolfgang A. Mozart
Ludwig van Beethoven
Frank Schubert
Johannes Brahms
Felix Mendelssohn
Antonin Dvorak
Ravel + Debussy
Bela Bartok
Dmitry Shostakovich
even Borodin and Tchaikovsky can be added here.

This list also exclude endless repertoire from the Classical era, which I already listed out top ten of important composer to listen HERE.

Top 20 Other Romantic String Quartet Composers You'll Need to Know
(in born-chronological order)

01. Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842)
Cherubini's six string quartets are legends. They are all super well written in the Romantic melodious way, despite the year where many still follows Haydn's Classical era string quartets. I listen to String Quartet no.3 in Dm and then no.6 in Am, these are quartet made in the height of Italian melodic. Shame that less quartet performed these works as it is as great as early Beethoven quartets.
Recommended works:
Melos String Quartet Cherubini String Quartets Nos 1-6
Quartteto David : Cherubini String Quartet Vol.1 - Vol.2 - Vol.3

02. George Onslow (1784–1853) 36
George Onslow is extremely forgotten these years. His string quartets, about 36 of them is even unheard anymore. Only few quartets are recorded as the time of writing.
Recommended works:
Mandelring Quartet: Onslow: String Quartets Op. 9 & 47
Mandelring Quartet: Onslow: String Quartets, Vol. 2 
Quatuor Ruggieri
Read also Article

03. Louis Spohr (1784–1859)
There are only one set of Louis Spohr's 37 string quartets, they are recorded by Marco Polo with several quartets playing. All quartet are recorded in a huge 17 volumes of them. Listen to the height of Mannheim school in chamber version. Spohr has a distinguished melody, all quartet share this similar style. They may sounds very close between each quartet, but then Spohr amazingly able to composed 37 quartet though.
Recommended works:
Spohr string quartets Vol.17
Read also full article

04. Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (1806–1826)
Recently Juan Arriage got a booming recording of his enigmatic three string quartets. His brief existence on Earth, only 20 years old, may contribute to his fame. Before the quartet when viral in the future, familiar your self with his only three quartets, in D minor, A Major and E flat Major.
Recommended works:
Camerata Boccherini
Guarneri String Quartet

05. Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)
Only one, String Quartet in Em. When it came from Verdi then it can't be missed. Indeed the quartet is quite celebrated as per now.
Recommended works:
Delme string quartet : Verdi and Strauss
Quartteto Italiano : Verdi, Donizetti and Cambini

06. Antonio Bazzini (1818-1897)
Famous only with his violin repertoire, Antonio Bazzini composed six string quartets full of melodious line. There are maybe only one recording of it, by the Venezia String Quartet

07. Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884)
Smetana two string quartets actually has stable inclusion of today's repertoire. Must listen.
Recommended works:
Stamitz Quartet Czech String Quartets

08. Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) 
Though popular, Camille Saint-Saens two string quartets are his lesser known works. Quartet no.2 in G in the third movement show some of the best four parts melodies conversation that a string quartets composer always trying to do.
Recommended works:
Castillon String Quartet

09. Max Bruch (1838–1920)
Always the same sentiment with Camille Saint-Saens, Max Bruch also composed two string quartets which is largely forgotten. Eclipsed by his Violin Concerto, Max Bruch quartet is dark in the first quartet in Em, then there is beautiful Quartet no.2 in E Major Op.10. Read also full article
Recommended works:
Mannheim String Quartet

10. Leoš Janáček (1854–1928)
Fortunately Leos Janacek repertoire is respectable and popular by now. Of course string quartet no.2 nickname "Intimate Letter" is the famous one, but I found the first quartet in is delightful as well.
Recommended works:
Panocha Quartet

11. Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev (1856–1915)
From Russian, Sergei Taneyev is the front of his contemporary about string quartets. Nine had been published by Sergei, with Quartet No.3 in Dm maybe his most popular one. The complete set only published by Northern Flower in 1977. That extremely negligence of this gems.
Recommended works:
The Taneyev Quartet: Taneyev Complete String Quartets
Carpe Diem String Quartet - article

12. Joseph Guy Ropartz (1865-1936)
Guy Ropartz is the other guy who perhaps never heard before. A French composer with six beautifully written quartets , mostly comprise selection of folk melody in it. Only one complete set of quartet being recorded by Quatuor Stanislav.

13. Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
Big uncle Sibelius wrote three string quartet, one with nickname "Voice Intimae" is enjoying his status as 'alternative repertoire' to other over popular quartet such as Ravel or Brahms. Take another shot to listen to this technically beautiful quartet.
Recommended works:
Emerson String Quartet - Sibelius and Grieg
Tempera String Quartet

14. John Blackwood McEwen (1868–1948) - 17
UK composer Sir John Blackwood McEwen composed about seventeen quartets and only half being recorded in three volume of CD. You'll probably haven't heard about McEwen. These are UK best kept secret of their late Romantic era with many quartet push to the boundary of 20th century style. Chilingirian Quartet recorded his works. Read also : Review of McEwen string quartet

15. Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871–1927)
Another string quartet cycle you'll need to know is the six quartets of Wilhelm Stenhammar. Just jump to my favorite string quartet no.3 in F Major to examined how Wilhelm written developed nice melody into four part voices. The quartet has begin to enjoy some popularity with several recordings.
Recommended works:
Oslo String Quartet - CPO label
Copenhagen String Quartet
Other recordings and Further reading

16. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)
Everything from R.V Williams sounds beautiful, so do the two quartets. Expected a thick UK landscape folk music in it.
Recommended works:
Maggini String Quartet

18. Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881–1950) 13
Mainly an opera and symphony composer, Nikolai Myaskovsky has a huge catalog of inspiring string quartets. Thirteen of them , all came with heavy weight melancholy composition. They will bring you to the first years of 20th century landscape. Nikolai Myaskovsky string quartets is a must-listen stuff if you are serious to delved into string quartet genre. His number #13 is the most popular work. Only published by Northern Flower by The Taneyev String Quartet, very rare stuff. Read also full article.

19. Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959)
From Latin America comes Heitor Villa-Lobos with his seventeen string quartets. They are far advance in the 20th century music, yet it is not atonal works, and still very 'listenable' to Romantic lover. Villa-Lobos quartets is quite popular by now.
Recommended works:
Danubius Complete Villa-Lobos String Quartets

20. Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) - 10 only 8 survive
Only eight of his quartet survive out of ten. These eight series of Late Czech string quartet will bring you to the War times era.
Recommended works:
Panocha String Quartet

21. Vissarion Shebalin (1902–1963)
Student of Nicolai Myaskovsky, Vissarion Shebalin is another neglected Russian composer with serious string quartet. Nine of them, and the world only have one version of them. The Krasni string quartet recorded them all. There are several string quartet recorded partial of Shebalin quartet though. Enjoy the war times era , Stalinism feel on these quartets.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ole Bull Ovide Musin in America 1895

Ole Bull, 1810-1880 is now largely forgotten. This newspaper nickname him as "wizard from the North", as his country of origin from Norway suggest. Ole Bull came to America around 1850s and made quite a lot of interesting stories in America, beside giving concert and recitals, he also doing many things such as building a castle and so on. The Wikipedia article did write something about it. This article written on Los Angeles Herald, November 17th 1895, reminiscent on his journey in America. Gives bit of story about his son, Alexander Bull.

Ovide Musin, 1854-1929, was even lesser known violinist. Here bit of portion about his story.

Los Angeles Herald, November 17th 1895


Plans for an Ole Bull celebration at Minneapolis are awakening a great revival of interest in that famous master of the bow. A sufficient length of time has now passed since his death make all personal reminiscences of his various visits to America thoroughly appreciated by those who treasure them in their own minds. His name is surrounded with more and more musical charm; the light Of his genius glows more and more brightly. The time has come for a general ingathering and treasuring of all personal memories and facts in relation to the great "wizard of tbe north." At Madison, Wis., what is now owned by the state and known as the governor's executive residence, wss once the home of Ole Bull's American wife, Sara Thorpe.

... and so on.. please read the scan newspaper.

tag: historical violinist in newspaper, los angeles herald

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Manfredini Complete String Quartets - Quartetto Delfico

Vincenzo Manfredini (1737 – 1799) 
Performer: Quartetto Delfico
Label: Brilliant Classics
Release: June 2014

Vincenzo Manfredini (22 October 1737 – 5 or 16 August 1799) is Italian Classical era composer. Seeing his live timeline we got to know Vincenzo might have witness the birth of string quartet genre first hand, via Haydn invention. This set of quartets, six of them, come all in three movements form. Vincenzo learn from his more famous dad, Francesco Manfredini.

The quartets sounds like a marriage between late Baroque and Haydn. Quartetto Delfico recorded these quartets in a crispy string sounding around 6-8 September 2013, Villa San Fermo, Lonigo, Italy. It is of course in historical instruments.

Vincenzo Manfredini (1737-1799)
Complete String Quartets

01. String Quartet No. 5 in G Major: I. Allegro (03:31)
02. String Quartet No. 5 in G Major: II. Adagio (04:24)
03. String Quartet No. 5 in G Major: III. Allegretto (03:03)
04. String Quartet No. 2 in B-Flat Major: I. Andante (04:30)
05. String Quartet No. 2 in B-Flat Major: II. Allegro molto (03:08)
06. String Quartet No. 2 in B-Flat Major: III. Minuè (02:21)
07. String Quartet No. 4 in C Major: I. Allegro (05:25)
08. String Quartet No. 4 in C Major: II. Grave (04:42)
09. String Quartet No. 4 in C Major: III. Allegretto (03:20)
10. String Quartet No. 3 in A Major: I. Allegro (03:57)
11. String Quartet No. 3 in A Major: II. Adagio (07:35)
12. String Quartet No. 3 in A Major: III. Allegretto (02:16)
13. String Quartet No. 6 in F Major: I. Allegro con brio (04:33)
14. String Quartet No. 6 in F Major: II. Andante (05:46)
15. String Quartet No. 6 in F Major: III. Presto (02:33)
16. String Quartet No. 1 in D Major: I. Allegro brioso (03:42)
17. String Quartet No. 1 in D Major: II. Largo (04:55)
18. String Quartet No. 1 in D Major: III. Presto (02:29)

Quartetto Delfico :
Mauro Massa - violin
Gerardo Vitale - violin
Valeria Brunelli - cello
Andrea Vassalle - viola