£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


BUY NOW 

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
String Quartet No. 13 in G, B192/Op. 106a (1895) [38'48].
Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY

String Quartet No. 3 in E flat minor, Op. 30b (1876) [35'10].
Vlach String Quartet
Rec. Domovina Studio. Prague, on aMay 16th-20th, 1960 and bJune 17th-19th, 1963. ADD
SUPRAPHON ARCHIV SU3783-2 [74'08]

 


Magnificent performances of two wonderful quartets here.

The Dvorak G major demonstrates immediately the richness of the Vlach Quartet's sound even through the constraints of a somewhat abrasive recording. More, there is an intrinsically Czech approach – interpretatively as well as in terms of sound – that lends real authenticity to this performance. Perhaps this is manifested most strongly in the elasticity of tempo. The basic pulse is never violated, yet maneuvers around it are negotiated with perfect ease.

The Adagio is almost whispered at its outset, blossoming into radiant light at around 1'10. The composer's textural mastery is astonishing as the Vlach Quartet ensures the music grows inevitably in intensity. To balance, the tenderness at around 8'40 - ultra-tender first violin – Josef Vlach – underpinned by gently throbbing cello - is most touching. Chords are balanced in masterly fashion.

Yet the Vlach can dance too, as evinced by the third movement. One can hear the composer stretching, relaxing, in the finale with some delightful pizzicato play around two minutes in. The rhythms drive the music along infectiously. Wonderful.

Tchaikovsky's third quartet is in the bleak key of E flat minor, an area that the Vlach Quartet seems to have no problems attuning to, yet they revel in the light, too. There is a gorgeous long-breathed melody against pizzicato accompaniment in the first movement that is simply magnificent (just after the one minute mark). The feeling this time is of an intrinsically Tchaikovskian expanse, uneasily shifting for the first movement's duration.

If the allegro vivo e scherzando is sprightly within the confines of the first movement, intensity is never very far away and surfaces regularly. Intensity, though, is at its height in the 'Andante funebre e doloroso, ma con moto' slow movement. The quartet's control is mind-boggling, but it is the angst that moves. This is almost painful to listen to, like listening in on someone's black confessions. The finale miraculously combines great energy with gravity.

Tremendous performances, both. A must for all lovers of great quartet playing.

Colin Clarke



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.