Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet

 

Leoš JANAČÉK (1854-1928)
String Quartet No. 1, “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1923) [17:47]
String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters” (1928) [25:40]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Cypresses (1887) [25:40]
Leipziger Streichquartett (Andreas Seidel (violin); Tilman Büning (violin); Ivo Bauer (viola); Matthias Moosdorf (cello))
rec. Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche-Leipzig, February 2007
MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG30714722 [81:05] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


This fantastic music here receives playing of the highest calibre in demonstration quality sound. A well planned disc, this is now one of the top choices for this repertoire.
 

Dating from late in his life, Janáčék’s quartets both date from the time of his infatuation with the young Kamila Stösslová and they mirror the turbulent passion that racked him at the time.  The first quartet was inspired by Tolstoy’s short story The Kreutzer Sonata, especially the deep but unspoken love between the two protagonists, which must have resonated with the elderly man as he contemplated his separation from the object of his adoration.  The second is the most blatant and forthright depiction of his love for Kamila in all of Janáčék’s output.  Works of genius, they are characterised by moments of unbearable lyricism which sit cheek by jowl with howling dissonances, nowhere more so than in the third movement of No. 1, where a theme of melancholy beauty is periodically disrupted by unmusical screeching, perhaps representing the husband in Tolstoy’s story who waits outside the door to kill the two lovers. 

The Leipzig Quartet have the full measure of these extraordinary masterpieces.  They embrace the beauty of quartet No. 1, but the feeling of barely concealed tension hovers under the surface right from bar one, making it all the more shocking when it rears its head.  There is a sense of gathering dread as the quartet - and the story - moves towards its tragic climax: see, for example, the second movement which has the feeling of an elegant dance thrown gradually off-kilter by the malevolent force that hovers around it.  There is playing of striking beauty in the third movement but the horrible tension forbids us from ever relaxing.  Likewise the finale builds to a whirling climax then abruptly subsides into nothing.  Intimate Letters begins with febrile energy then melts into a gorgeous section for the viola, which Janáčék originally planned to score for a viola d’amore – how appropriate!  The second movement is simply the unfolding of a single theme with ever more ardent passion.  The slow movement carries a love theme which Janáčék described in a letter as “particularly happy”: the viola playing here is particularly sumptuous, but the incisiveness of the lower rhythm layers it with plenty of tension.  The final pages of the quartet bring passion and vigour, but still an element of doubt.  Throughout the Leipzig players surge together as one unit, bringing passion, flair and a deep understanding of the duality which makes these works so powerful.  Janáčék said the work was “as if carved out of living flesh”: if that’s true for the notes then it also seems true of the playing in this performance. 

Room is found for a less nuanced but still delightful performance of Dvořák’s Cypresses, a collection of twelve movements based on an early song cycle of the same name.  The original poems focused on a young man’s unrequited love, and Dvořák rearranged the songs for string quartet adding new accompanying melodies and counter-melodies.  They make a lovely ensemble, and there is a beautiful “singing” quality to the playing, such as the violin the opening number, and the cello in the third and fourth, to name but three examples.  The dominant mood is overwhelmingly lyrical and full of melting tenderness, quite in keeping with Dvořák’s intentions.  Importantly, they serve as a gentle foil to the stridency of the Janáčék quartets. 

In addition to the marvellous playing I should mention the disc’s fantastic sound: ideally balanced, it feels like it’s coming at you from every direction.  The playing is close and clear, but still with a lovely bloom on the sound.  Furthermore, the disc is packed with more than 81 minutes worth of music, so you get your full value for money.

Simon Thompson


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review 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.