£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 

Crotchet

Alexander GRECHANINOV (1864-1956)
String Quartets Vol. 2
String Quartet No. 3 in C minor Op.75 (1915) [37:06]
String Quartet No. 4 in F Op.124 (1929) [31:24]
Utrecht String Quartet
rec. Cath. Church, Delft, May and October 2005 DDD
MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 603 1388-2 [68:40]


Grechaninov was born in Moscow a year before Sibelius and also died in New York a year before Sibelius. He was taught by Rimsky-Korsakov. His music did not migrate far from his roots and continued to write in that style well after the 1917 revolution had led to exile first in France and then in the USA. A prolific composer in all the usual genres, his reputation seems to rest mainly on choral music and to be rather tainted by suggestions of lack of originality. Certainly, by comparison with his near contemporary Sibelius, his style did not develop much, meaning it is rather hard to believe the fourth quartet was written as late as 1929. But, listening to this disc, I sometimes found the music hard to place and was not continually reminded of other composers, surely one sign of an original voice.
 
There are four Grechaninov string quartets and this offering completes the Utrecht Quartet’s cycle. The previous disc was well-received by Michael Cookson three years ago (see review). Both works are in four movements with the slow movement placed second. They are fairly conventional but well-crafted and pleasant listening.
 
The third quartet opens with a slow introduction which immediately captures an ambiguity of mood which is a hallmark of both works. A transition by accelerando leads to the Allegro which opens almost classically in the major. The textures increase in complexity as does the tension, and it soon becomes obvious that this is very fine quartet playing. After a questioning coda, the slow movement opens in richly melodic and bittersweet vein. There is a restless and rather disturbing central section following which the opening material returns. The scherzo is less inspired but the finale logically complements the opener and the conclusion is ultimately high-spirited.
 
The fourth quartet opens with reference to the initial motif of Beethoven’s fifth symphony. The mood is often pastoral and the first movement surprisingly brief. The second is variously documented as a Moderato assai and Maestoso assai – I would suspect the latter is correct. In this movement the influence of Grechaninov’s forbears is pervasive but the music is memorable. The scherzo that follows catches the ear rather more effectively than in the third quartet. The finale has a slow introduction leading to some very lively if rather lightweight writing.
 
Grechaninov’s cause is very well served here and I have no reservations about the playing of the Utrecht quartet or the recording. Well worth hearing.
 
Patrick C Waller
 
see also review by Jonathan Woolf
 

BUY NOW 

Crotchet

 

 



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.