Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Six Cypresses from B152 [14:21]
String Quartet No.13 in G major, Op. 106, B192 [36:59]
Two Waltzes from Op 54, B105 [6:38]
Cecilia Quartet (Min-Jeong Koh, Sarah Nematallah (violins), Caitlin Boyle (viola),
Rachel Desoer (cello)).
rec. 20-23 December 2011, Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto,
ANALEKTA AN 2 9892 [57:58]
The young, rising Cecilia String Quartet deliver a knockout performance of Dvořák’s
thirteenth string quartet. This is a reading of incredible individuality and
it sounds like nobody else’s, which for such a popular and beloved piece
is really saying something. These four women are unafraid to be bold, adventurous,
different: the first movement has a symphonic sense of drama, the adagio’s
many gear-shifts feel natural and are spurred on by truly impassioned playing.
Throughout there are tiny touches - portamento here, the slightest pause to
linger on a turn of phrase there - which set the Cecilia Quartet apart without
ever making them sound perverse or wilful. The final coda is a case in point:
you might raise an eyebrow at the massive hesitation with which it begins, but
then the quartet chugs forward mightily to a mega-exciting finish. In other
words, this is a reading in which the risk-taking is governed by good taste.
It belongs with the best modern recordings, just shy of the Pavel Haas Quartet’s
gold standard. The PHQ are also young and audacious, with only slightly more
The quartet is framed by shorter works: six of the Cypresses, B152, adaptations
of songs which are here rendered in an appropriately lyrical, cantabile fashion,
and two lovely waltzes, from Op 54, which serve as encores. The sound quality,
big and in-your-face, suits the quartet’s personality and presents it
in a thrilling close setting. The booklet unaccountably fails to give the names
of the Cecilia Quartet’s members, so I have provided them in the heading;
actually Nematallah is mentioned but misspelled. The booklet also fails to give
track timings, so I’ve listed them below.
Given the rude treatment of these four incredible players, perhaps you should
target this as an MP3 download via ClassicsOnline, Amazon, eMusic, or iTunes.
It is certainly worthy of your attention for an invigorating hour of playing
from a quartet that’s bold enough to sound like nobody else. The Cecilia
String Quartet are, along with the Parker
Quartets, rising stars on the North American chamber music scene. Keep an eye
on these young women.
A lightning-bolt of a debut from a quartet that has not just dazzling technique
but a bold new voice.
from the Cypresses, B. 152 (1887)
2. Death reigns in many a human breast [2:12]
3. When Thy Sweet Glances On Me Fall [2:28]
7. I Wander Oft Past Yonder House [1:46]
9. Thou Only Dear One, But For Thee [2:52]
11. Nature Lies Peaceful In Slumber & Dreaming [2:27]
12. You Ask Why My Songs [2:38]
String Quartet No 13 in G, Op 106 (1895)
Allegro moderato [10:30]
Adagio ma non troppo [10:04]
Molto vivace [5:29]
Andante sostenuto - Allegro con fuoco [10:57]
from the Waltzes, B. 105 (1879-1880)
Waltz No 1 [3:35]
Waltz No 4 [3:03]