Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Eugen d'Albert - Complete String Quartets Reinhold Quartett (2016)

Eugen (originally Eugène) Francois Charles d'Albert (10 April 1864 – 3 March 1932)
Performer : Reinhold Quartett
Label : Naxos of America
Release: May 2016

There already a release of Scottish composer Eugen d'Albert string quartets earlier than this one. The Sarastra Quartet had released Eugen d'Albert only two string quartets in the past,  Eugen d'Albert Sarastro Quartet - BUY IT HERE

But now we got the latest rendition of Eugen d'Albert string quartets, done by Reinhold Quartett released by Naxos of America. Notes:

Scottish-born German composer Eugen Francois Charles dAlbert (1864-1932) began his musical career as a pianist. As years passed, he began focusing more on composing, and produced 21 operas, and a variety of piano, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. The works chosen for this album are his String Quartet op. 11 in E flat major, and String Quartet op. 7 in A minor. These are the only two string quartets that dAlbert wrote. The Reinhold-Quartett is Dietrich Reinhold and Tobias Haupt, violin, Norbert Tunze, viola, and Christoph Vietz, cello.

and a longer descriptions:

Eugen d’Albert was born in Glasgow to a French father and an English mother. Already as a child, however, he was attracted to Germany and began learning the language of the country he felt was his own. He then spent long periods of his life in Germany without ever feeling at home there. He remained a British subject until World War I and then became a citizen of Switzerland. Contradictions continued throughout his entire life: he was a piano virtuoso of epochal stature, but his most ardent wish was to enjoy a composer’s fame. He married six times, regularly changed his place of residence, and experimented with spiritist practices. His compositional oeuvre was just as multifaceted as his life and personal character. Before his thirtieth birthday, in 1886 and 1893, Eugen d’Albert had composed two string quartets. Given the reports about the public’s response to them at the time of their composition, it is quite astonishing that they are only rarely performed today and not mentioned at all in the standard guides to quartet music. The quartets show us a composer embodying the cutting edge of the musical developments of his times who not only met the compositional-technical requirements of the demanding quartet genre but also fully satisfied the tonal needs of a string ensemble. His second quartet in particular is a wonderful late product of romanticism. Dedicated to Johannes Brahms, this work is distinguished by an extraordinarily dense and markedly polyphonic compositional style, highly developed late romantic harmonies, and very nuanced rhythms – while confronting the instrumentalists with considerable challenges. The two quartets remained the only representatives of this genre in d’Albert’s oeuvre: in the end he went down in music history as a »pianist and opera composer.« The recording by the Reinhold Quartet, renewing the composer’s close ties to the Gewandhaus, invites you to get ready once again to revise the traditional picture of this astonishingly multifaceted artist.  from CPO website

Eugen d'Albert: Complete String Quartets

String Quartet No.1 in A Minor, Op.7
1 I. Leidenschaftlich bewegt 9:18
2 II. Langsam, mit Ausdruck 10:05
3 III. Mäßiger bewegt 6:58
4 IV. In mäßiger, ruhiger Bewegung (Thema mit Variationen) 10:38

String Quartet No.2 in E flat Major, Op.11
5 I. Andante con moto 7:33
6 II. Allegro vivace 7:50
7 III. Adagio ma non troppo e con molta espressione 12:33
8 IV. Allegro 6:51 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Paul Juon - Complete String Quartets - Sarastro Quartett (2016)

Paul JUON (1872-1940)
Performer : Sarastro Quartett
Label : CPO
Release : April 2016
BUY IT HERE - Amazon

Born in the middle of Romantic era, Paul Juon hold several string quartets that are mystery to us ever before. Recently, the rise of his chamber musics (some piano quartets) enable CPO label to put the string quartets into recording. So, here we are with the new never heard before Romantic string quartets of Paul Juon. Paul was born in Moscow, his parent are Swiss. Paul return to Switzerland in 1934. His four string quartets in these double CD had been described as influenced by Russian music. Here the CD notes:

The missing link between Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky"" - This is how a contemporary critic once termed the late romantic composer Paul Juon, who was born to Swiss parents in Moscow, graduated from the conservatory with flying colors, and then went to Berlin in 1894 to study with Clara Schumann's half brother Woldemar Bargiel. In 1907 the very discriminating Joseph Joachim appointed him to a full professorship at the Berlin college of Music. Juon penned orchestral compositions and piano and vocal music, but chamber music was his domain. Following the release of his Piano Quartets and his Quintet and Sextet, likewise with piano music, it is now time to present his String Quartets. Once again all the essential traits of Juon's compositional style are brought together with the finest craftsmanship: his predilection for irregular rhythms and rhythmic-metrical peculiarities, bold harmonies, and an unmistakable Russian folk tone in the melodic sphere. Since Juon anticipated developments for which Stravinsky, Blacher, and Messiaen later became famous, we might wellconsider including him among the important rhythmic innovators. In his chamber music Pual Juon is in a class all by himself. 

Paul Juon: Complete String Quartets  BUY IT HERE - Amazon

String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 5 (post-1896) [42:00]
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adagio sostenuto
III. Molto presto
IV. Intermezzo. Allegro
V. Finale. Vivacissimo

String Quartet No. 2 in B minor, Op. 11 (1896) [27:45]
I. Allegro risoluto
II. Andante tranquillo
III. Scherzo. Presto
IV. Finale. Allegro con giusto

String Quartet No. 3 in E minor, Op. 29 (1904) [32:44]
I. Allegro molto
II. Lento assai ma poco rubato
III. Moderato
IV. Lento assai - Vivace non troppo

String Quartet No. 4, Op. 67 (1920) [28:21]
I. Allegro
II. Andante tranquillo
III. Allegro
IV. Allegro non troppo

Sarastro Quartett
Ralph Orendain & Roman Conrad, Violin
Hanna Werner-Helfenstein, Viola
Lehel Donath, Cello

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fröhlich Complete String Quartets - Rasumowsky Quartet (2016)

Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich (20 February 1803 - † 16th October 1836)
Performer : Rasumowsky-Quartett
Label : CPO
Release : April 2016  -  BUY IT HERE

We just got recording of Switzerland composer Frederich Theodore Frohlich last year, but here we got the new CD. This new recording by Rasumowsky comes with 2 CDs and the last quartet never hearded before,  string quartet in F minor. Here some of the CD notes :

Early Romantic Quartets from Switzerland

The string quartets of the Aargau composer Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich form a unique contribution in this genre to musical early romanticism in Switzerland. However, so far only one of these four works has been edited. The manuscripts of his other quartets currently continue to be housed in the Basel University Library. When poor health forced him to abandon his law studies, Fröhlich took compositional lessons in Aarau and then received instruction from Goethe’s friend Carl Friedrich Zelter and Bernhard Klein in Berlin, where he also met Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. He was the most promising young talent of Swiss romanticism, but when his musical activity failed to meet with recognition, he threw himself into the Aare on 16 October 1836. Fröhlich’s music is distinguished by refreshing and natural melodies, a special feel for simplicity combined with compelling effects, and rich in emotional expression and unexpected modulations in the harmonic sphere. 


Swiss composer Friedrich Theodor Frohlich began his compositional career after his poor health forced him to abandon his law studied. He took lessons in Aarau, and then was a student of Carl Friedrich Zelter and Berhard Klein in Berlin. A promising talent, the string quartets featured here show the composer had unique contributions to early romanticism. When his music did not meet the acclaim that he expected, Frohlich unfortunately took his own life at the age of 33. 


The string quartets of Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich form a unique contribution to Swiss early romanticism. He was the most promising young talent of Swiss romanticism, but when his musical activity failed to meet with recognition, he threw himself into the Aare on 16 October 1836. Fröhlich’s music is distinguished by refreshing and natural melodies, simplicity combined with compelling effects, and rich in emotional expression and unexpected harmonic modulations.

Fröhlich Complete String Quartets - Rasumowsky Quartet (2016)

Disk 1
String quartet in F minor
1. I Allegro moderato
2. II Allegretto quasi andantino
3. III Scherzo: Molto allegro - Trio: Meno presto
4. IV Finale: Adagio - Allegro ma non troppo - Adagio - Allegro tempo primo

String quartet in G minor
5. I Andante con variazioni
6. II Scherzo: Molto animato
7. III Largo cantabile
8. IV Finale: Allegro molto

Disk 2
String quartet in E Major

1. I Allegretto ma non troppo
2. II Scherzo: Molto animoso
3. III Adagio, con molto espressione
4. IV Finale: Allegro agitato - Adagio - Andantino - Allegro agitato - Recitativo senza tempo - Adagio - Andantino

String quartet in C minor

5. I Allegro agitato
6. II Andante
7. III Scherzo: Presto
8. IV Finale: Adagio - Allegro

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bruch Complete String Quartets - Diogenes Quartett (2016)

Max Bruch
Performer: Diogenes Quartett
Label: Brilliant Classic
Release: January 2016 - BUY

Max Bruch finally can has his own "Complete String Quartets" CD. This improvement happened because his third string quartet had been discovered and recorded! To be precised, the new string quartet is actually his first, composed during his youth at the age of 14! The notes :

In 2013 an unknown quartet was discovered in the archives of the Mozart-Stiftung in Frankfurt, further research made it clear it was by the 14-year old Max Bruch! This fresh and spontaneous youth work clearly has its roots in the romantic tradition going back to Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann.

If you thrilled about two Max Bruch string quartets that already known (as I am!), this new piece is very much welcome for string quartet fans. Brilliant Classic recorded this with Diogenes Quartett, who done lot of little known Romantic era string quartet in their repertoire. The new quartet is written in C Minor key, exactly the same as his first string quartet. Is this the proto type of the first quartet? Let's wait till the CD being released then we will write review on it.

Max Bruch : Complete String Quartet

    1.    String Quartet in C Minor, Op. Posth.: I. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro molto
    2.    String Quartet in C Minor, Op. Posth.: II. Adagio
    3.    String Quartet in C Minor, Op. Posth.: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto
    4.    String Quartet in C Minor, Op. Posth.: IV. Finale. Presto agitato
    5.    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 9: I. Andante – Allegro ma non troppo
    6.    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 9: II. Adagio
    7.    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 9: III. Allegro molto energico
    8.    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 9: IV. Molto vivace
    9.    String Quartet No. 2 in E Major, Op. 10: I. Allegro maestoso
    10.    String Quartet No. 2 in E Major, Op. 10: II. Andante quasi adagio
    11.    String Quartet No. 2 in E Major, Op. 10: III. Vivace non troppo - Un poco meno vivo
    12.    String Quartet No. 2 in E Major, Op. 10: IV. Finale. Vivace

Diogenes Quartett
Stefan Kirpal violin
Gundula Kirpal violin
Alba González i Becerra viola
Stephen Ristau violincello

Boccherini - 6 String Quartets Op. 26 (2016)

Luigi Boccherini (1745-1805)
Performer: Ensemble Symposium
Label: Brilliant Classic
Release: January 2016

The collection of Luigi Boccherini string quartet is keep coming. This time the good news coming from Ensemble Symposium which done six string quartet as Op.26 or G 195 to 200. This is indeed the first recording, as the CD stated, and true I can't remember it had been recorded elsewhere. The website include some important notes on this:

About this release
Generally known as Boccherini’s Op.26, this set of two-movement ‘quartettini’ was first published as Op.32, but confusion has continued down the years, which may be one reason why these delightful works have remained little-known and under-recorded; the only extant version on CD is of arrangements for keyboard and piano quartet, so this set offers a valuable first chance to acquaint oneself with Boccherini’s original scoring.   more HERE

another notes:
The first recording for string quartet of the 6 Quartets Op.26 by Boccherini.
Boccherini was in the service of the Infante Don Luis, the brother of King Charles III of Spain. He was required to write 3 sets of 6 pieces every year, a duty which led to the rich and substantial oeuvre of chamber music by the Italian master.

The quartets are small scale, consisting of usually two movements, the first Allegro in sonata form followed by a Menuetto plus Trio. The style, “Classical Pure”, is here and there infused by Spanish elements, such as certain syncopations suggesting Spanish dances, like the Fandango: high class entertainment!

Let's wait until this CD been released and will write review for it.


    1.    Quartet in B-Flat Major, G. 195: I. Allegro moderato
    2.    Quartet in B-Flat Major, G. 195: II. Minuetto con moto – Trio
    3.    Quartet in G Minor, G. 196: I. Larghetto
    4.    Quartet in G Minor, G. 196: II. Minuetto – Trio
    5.    Quartet in E-Flat Major, G. 197: I. Allegro vivace
    6.    Quartet in E-Flat Major, G. 197: II. Minuetto – Trio
    7.    Quartet in A Major, G. 198: I. Larghetto
    8.    Quartet in A Major, G. 198: II. Minuetto con moto – Trio
    9.    Quartet in F Major, G. 199: I. Allegretto
    10.   Quartet in F Major, G. 199: II. Minuetto allegro – Trio
    11.   Quartet in F Minor, G. 200: I. Andante appassionato ma non lento
    12.   Quartet in F Minor, G. 200: II. Minuetto – Trio

Ensemble Symposium
Igor Cantarelli violin
Gian Andrea Guerra violin
Simone Laghi viola
Gregorio Buti violoncello

Sunday, November 22, 2015

List of Flute and String Quartet / Quintet Recordings of the Classical Era

Flute is arguably the next most popular instruments to paired to string quartet and quintet ensemble. The quartet for flute and string trio that formed flute quartet have wide repertoire, I believe much larger than, said, clarinet or oboe or other woodwinds instrument. The form seemingly enjoyed popularity in Classical Era. Apart from well known Mozart's four flute quartets, sadly lesser piece have been known to this category. Here are the list of most popular recording available in the market for the last 15 years that created flute quartet and flute quintet. I sort the list according to composer's lifetime, and some short commentary on notable piece.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Quartets for Flute, Violin, Viola da Gamba, Bk 1 "Paris Quartets"
by Reinhard Goebel, Musica Antiqua Koln - BUY IT HERE

The Paris Quartets is the earliest flute quartet that stand out from the crowd. The piece was created in the late Baroque era, one can link this to earliest form of string quartet in overall. 


Johann Joachim Quantz (1697–1773): Six Flute Quartets 2004
by Mary Oleskiewicz (baroque flute after Quantz), Elizabeth Field (baroque violin), Daniel Elyar (baroque viola), Stephanie Vial (baroque cello), David Schulenberg (harpsichord). - BUY IT HERE

J.J. Quantz was one of most important composer in flute repertoire. These are his flute chamber works where it was composed for Flute, violin, viola, cello and also harpsichord.

Louis-Gabriel Guillemain (1705 –1770)
Birth Of The String Quartet, Vol. 2 - The Sound Of The 18th Century
by Casal Quartett - BUY IT HERE
Guillemain composed six flute quartets op.12, Six sonates en quatuors ou conversations galantes, for flute, violin, bass viol, and basso continuo (1743) This recording performed in string quartet version.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 – 1788): 3 Flute Quartets CD
by Jean-Philippe Vasseur (viola) , Laure Colladant (Piano), Antoine Ladrette (Cello), Philippe Allain-Dupre (Flute)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich - String Quartets (2015)

Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich (20 February 1803 - † 16th October 1836)
Performer : Beethoven Quartett
Label : Musique Suisse
Release : October 2015  -  BUY IT HERE

Another very little known composer with his three string quartets recorded! Friedrich Theodor Frohlich was Swiss composer. As the year indicated, his life is very short with tragic stories. These three string quartets most probably composed in the era of Beethoven. By the year 1830s, all Beethoven string quartets had been known, so it is interesting to listen what mr. Frohlich's string quartet sound like. His biography is not even written in English wikipedia and only available in Germany.

The CD descriptions as below from official website:

Many people in the German-speaking countries know a work by Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich without ever having heard his name – he’s the composer of the song “Wem Gott will rechte Gunst erweisen” to a text by Joseph von Eichendorff, which was a hit that was included in every song book until the early 20th century. This song’s popularity surely lies in Fröhlich’s singable but by no means simple melody. No other work by this Swiss composer has achieved any similar degree of popularity, and in fact most of his works have not even been published to this day. During his academic years, Fröhlich spent four years in Berlin, and his experiences in the highly lively music scene of the big city made this a formative time for him. He was given composition lessons by no less a figure than Carl Friedrich Zelter, the director of many years standing of the Sing-Akademie, the founder of the Berlin Liedertafel (literally “song table”, a German term for a choral society) and the teacher of Felix Mendelssohn. Also just like Mendelssohn, Fröhlich took piano lessons from Ludwig Berger, at the time the most famous piano teacher in Berlin. Berger, like Zelter, was an advocate of folk song and of choral singing. He founded the “Jüngere Liedertafel” (the “younger Liedtafel”), a male choral society so named to differentiate itself from Zelter’s choir. Fröhlich, too, sang in Berger’s choir. In 1830 Fröhlich returned to Switzerland in the hope that he might build up a career for himself there. His brother, Abraham Emanuel Fröhlich, procured a job for him at the Cantonal High School in Aarau, though this did not suffice to cover all his living costs. He also conducted amateur orchestras and the Singing Institute in Aarau, though Fröhlich felt constricted in his activities: “From seven on a morning to six, often even seven in the evening”, he said, he existed “under the yoke of a miserable career”. Nevertheless, Fröhlich succeeded in composing in his spare time. While working in Aarau in the 1830s he wrote a concert overture, chamber music, piano pieces and part-songs. The last of his four string quartets, in C minor, was also composed in these years. Despite his numerous commitments, Fröhlich still had financial difficulties. Besides problems in his private life he also seems to have suffered from depression and from a lack of recognition for his works. He was not able to withstand the pressure these worries exerted on him, and in October 1836, at the age of 33, he jumped into the River Aare and drowned.

Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich - Streichquartette / String Quartets :
Buy it HERE - Amazon

01. String Quartet in G Minor I. Andante con variazioni 10:07
02. String Quartet in G Minor: II. Scherzo - molto animato 02:33
03. String Quartet in G Minor: III. Largo cantabile 08:09
04. String Quartet in G Minor IV. Finale: Allegro molto 05:33
05. String Quartet in E Major: I. Allegretto ma non troppo 03:43
06. String Quartet in E Major: II. Scherzo, molto animoso 05:42
07. String Quartet in E Major: III. Adagio, con molto espressione 06:41
08. String Quartet in E Major: IV. Finale: Allegro agitato 05:37
09. String Quartet in C Minor: I. Allegro agitato 06:03
10. String Quartet in C Minor: II. Andante 04:39
11. String Quartet in C Minor : III. Scherzo: Presto-Trio 05:51
12. String Quartet in C Minor: IV. Finale: Adagio-Allegro 06:54

Beethoven Quartett:
Matyas Bartha und Laurentius Bonitz, Violin / Violinen;
Vahagn Aristakesyan, Viola;
Carlos Conrad, Violoncello.