Recording dates are not given, just a production
year, 1996. Hopefully, this is a reissue of an earlier DDD production
– any company offering this meagre amount of music in the last
decade, with CDs past the novelty stage, is seeking derision
given the choice of string-based repertoire.
Quality first of course, but these are not
top-division renditions. Simple Symphony is disappointingly
literal and unengaging; no match for the composer’s Decca recording.
The Bartok is similarly homespun – neat and tidy but no atmosphere
or gypsy fire; some solo violin attempts at the ‘real’ thing
sound mawkish. The playing of the 12-strong group lacks personality
if not sensitivity; efficiency equates to one-dimensional music-making,
and palls early on. The recording is close and dry with a few
If this is a super-budget release, then Guillaume
Lekeu’s soulful, eloquent Adagio is worth getting to know.***
Belgian Lekeu (1870-94), not surprisingly, left few works
– this Adagio tells of a talented composer, one with an expressive
heart. Ideally more strings are needed (e.g. Armin Jordan on
Erato); similarly for Barber’s Adagio, here virtually returned
to its string quartet origins (Op.11).