Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beautiful Bruch's String Quartets

One of favorite composer of the Romantic era, is Max Bruch. He is/was mostly known for his Violin Concerto No.1 in Gm, which is followed by another two VC (plus one Concert piece for Violin, supposed to be no.4 Concerto) and Scottish Fantasy. But recently, his chamber works are in revival. From what reading and reviews I gathered, his chamber are in good reception by classical lover.

Among the chamber works are two String Quartets, others are a Piano Quintet post-h published, a Clarinet, Viola and Piano trio, String quintets etc. For his String quartet that I found a need to add a writting. I've listen to Mannheimer version that recorded around 1998. Another form of recording are in MP3 album by Academica String Quartet.

The quartet tune are sweet and as Romantic as we all love. The quartets written in his younger years, no.1 in 1856-58 and no.2 in 1861. The Edition Silvertrust website appraise its similarity to Mendelssohn. Quartet No.1 started calmly with Andante marking, improved to more faster tempo but rely solely on its beautiful melody. The second are an Adagio and ended with an energico trio. Then all concluded by fourth ending movement. The Second quartet did the same things, in another version that resembles all the Romantic feeling in its highest moment.

A soundclip to String Quartet no.1 in Cm, III Allegro molto energico:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Leos Janacek String Quartet with Viola d'amore

Of the composers that are famous by his String Quartet one is Leos Janacek (1854-1928) . He composed two quartets, the first née "Kreutzer Sonata"  then the second, the even more famous and romantic née "Intimate Letters". I've been listening to these quartets for so long, but only the recent release of Mandelring Quartett's  that I learn something even more exciting.

The Mandelring Quartett's CD of Janacek quartet, included the tracks of the second quartet played with Viola d'amore (instead of viola), an instrument of viola but with extra strings (make it a total of 7 strings). From the reading it is how the piece originally supposed to be playing, as intended by the composer. Interpretation, this is a refreshing version and quickly be a favorite. Released on Audite Label :


String Quartet No.1 "Kreutzer Sonata"
1. Adagio - Con moto
2. Con moto
3. Con moto - Vivo - Andante
4. Con moto

String Quartet No.2 "Intimate Letters" (viola)
5. Andante
6. Adagio
7. Moderato
8. Allegro

String Quartet No.2 "Intimate Letters" (viola d'amore)
9. Andante
10. Adagio
11. Moderato
12. Allegro

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Louis Spohr String Quartet Vol.14

Having write about Louis Spohr's String Quartets earlier, it is excited to see there is a final volume on his works. I just browse that the Vol.14 of the works will be released soon, January 25, 2011.

Read the teasers :
This is the 14th volume in Marco Polo’s ongoing survey of the string quartets of Spohr, one of the greatest violinists of his day.

1. String Quartet No. 31 in A major, Op. 132: I. Allegro vivace 7:22
2. String Quartet No. 31 in A major, Op. 132: II. Adagio 6:41
3. String Quartet No. 31 in A major, Op. 132: III. Scherzo: Vivace 6:50
4. String Quartet No. 31 in A major, Op. 132: IV. Finale: Allegro molto 7:50
5. String Quartet No. 36 in G minor, Op. 157: I. Allegro 7:43
6. String Quartet No. 36 in G minor, Op. 157: II. Larghetto 5:15
7. String Quartet No. 36 in G minor, Op. 157: III. Menuetto 4:03
8. String Quartet No. 36 in G minor, Op. 157: IV. Finale: Allegro molto 3:50
9. Potpourri No. 4 in B major, Op. 24 10:16

Louis Spohr composed string quartets throughout his career, the String Quartet No. 36 being his last completed large-scale work, composed in 1857 and modelled on those of Haydn and Mozart. As a result of depression during his later years, Spohr embargoed its performance, but as this recording shows it is a work of consummate craftsmanship. His String Quartet No. 31 was composed eleven years earlier and found favour with Mendelssohn and Wagner for its tightly woven counterpoint and sophisticated character. The earliest piece here, the Potpourri No. 4, is a short virtuoso display piece that draws on favourite opera arias by his idol Mozart.

PRE-ORDER now ! Link to Amazon Louis Spohr String Quartet Vol.14 .

Folklore Quartets of Joseph Guy Ropartz

Of the many cases of neglected string quartets, I found the Joseph Guy Ropartz's cycle is the totally hard to believe. The cycles is about six beautiful quartets written start around 1911. There are :

String Quartet No.1 in Gm
String Quartet No.2 in Dm
String Quartet No.3 in G
String Quartet No.4 in E
String Quartet No.5 in D Quasi una fantasia
String Quartet No.6 in F

and the recording by Stanislas Quatuor added extra piece Fantaisie brève, suited in 3 CDs. The complete recording by Quatuor Stanislas is maybe the first one ever and up till now the only one. The label is Timpani, a courageous and intelligent company, as said by CD noter.

Ropartz was a French composer and conductor and the article in wikipedia reveal his Briton / Celtic connection. Which is explained the beautiful folky melodies spread through these works. As Ropartz said, that he was the son of a country "where the goblins populate the moor and dance by the moony nights around the menhirs; where the fairies and the enchanters - Viviane and Merlin - have as a field the forest of Brocéliande; where the spirits of the unburied dead appear all white above the waters of the Bay of the Departed."  Hence, the works is always flows with ambient folk music but don't be wrong, it is also has its shinning intrique melodies. Listen to CD 1 the String quartet no.3 starts with enormous 'introduction' to Ropartz style ready to take you to the journey of his music. Till the last CD 3, the No.1 last movement really serves as the final farewell.

I totally hope this works can be soon included in our thirsty repertoire of Romantic string quartet. Take the CD of Ropartz's string quartet now vol 1 to 3.