Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

HINDEMITH String Quartet in F minor Op10. (1918)
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS String Quartet No. 6 (1938)
Quincy PORTER String Quartet No. 7 (1943)
Stuyvesant String Quartet
Sylvan Shulman (violin); Bernard Robbins (violin); Alan Shulman (cello); Ralph Hersh (viola)
rec New York City, 1 Nov 1950, 7 May 1947, 17 Feb 1948.
PARNASSUS PACD 96026 [68.59]
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The Hindemith, written in the Trenches in 1918, juxtaposes a tonally experimental Theme and Variations, with two movements impatiently alive with a pliant romanticism (Smetana comes to mind). Villa-Lobos's No 6 (Quarteto Brasileiro No 2) is a more resolved piece, its style consistent, full of motivic riches and the chaffing of Brazilian folk-music fully absorbed into the 'web', and with a magically stilled andante. The Porter (1897-1966) is one of ten written between 1923 and 1958. This one is a short (15.32) wartime work. I have heard very little Porter before. His viola concerto struck me as rather 'grey'. This quartet is more encouraging although still, to these ears, tending to 'anonymity'. It has a strong sense of movement and direction as well as an adagio molto akin to early Tippett. His quicker music is touched with the voices of Shostakovich and in the last movement Bartók. Good to have and, yes, I would like to hear the other nine.

The AAD mono sound is only a trial during the Porter and then only in the transition from the excellent mono sound of the other two commercial recordings. The Porter is a disc set of a live performance - with applause. In all of this the Stuyvesant whose name I know from their recording, with Laura Newell, of the Bax Harp Quintet, hold the listener in the palm of their hand. Their concentration is phenomenal. Their ability to play ppp must be heard. Sample tracks 9 (Porter) and 6 (Villa-Lobos).

A nice collection that should appeal to the unprejudiced collector as well to those who need to slake a nostalgic thirst for recordings of the 1950s.

I must mention Laurie Shulman's very full and concentrated liner notes. A model of their kind which give ample information about the music. Jay Shulman details the history of the quartet.

Parnassus have done well by the Stuyvesant in this release.

Rob Barnett

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