MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

  2022
 58,121 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk
Stanczyk Acousmatic Music

Oropesa

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

 

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983)
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20 [20:47]
Antonín DVO Ř ÁK (1841-1904)
String Quartet No. 12 in F, Op. 96 American [26:45]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 [21:22]
Simón Bolívar String Quartet
rec. February 2012, Sala Simón Bolívar, Centro de Acción Social por la Música, Caracas
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0429 [68:54] 

The Simón Bolívar String Quartet comprises section leaders from the similarly-named Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. All male by whatever coincidence, they here present a program of music from the new and old worlds. It’s a little rough, but overall pretty good.
 
Alberto Ginastera’s first quartet is a taut, tense work in three very short fast movements and one mournful eight-minute aria. The opening is frantic and raw, the scherzo is grimly playful and brings us the ensemble’s best playing. The finale has a wonderful pizzicato episode conjuring up all sorts of fascinating sound effects. 

The two more familiar pieces are Dvořák’s American quartet and Shostakovich’s celebrated Eighth. The American is well-done, with a few moments of originality - I love the opening bars. Throughout, there’s that extra dash of fire and energy we associate with younger performers. Still, there are rough patches: the opening bars I singled out for praise fall just shy of the standard for quicksilver beauty recently set by the Pavel Haas Quartet. Throughout the CD, Alejandro Carreño’s first violin can sometimes sound harsh, either because of performer or recorded sound - his grandfather is the notable composer Inocente. There’s a habit of speeding through the faster, louder bits and slowing down big-time for the prettiest melodies, a habit you’ll either like or hate.
 
Shostakovich’s edgy, exciting Eighth Quartet is another good match for these performers, and they take a few more interpretive liberties while overall keeping up their sharp attacks and youthful fire. Again, I am not totally certain that they have all the technical skills or tonal refinement to sustain their speeds; the second movement is perilously albeit thrillingly close to the edge. Among recent recordings, one by the Pacifica Quartet outclasses this in almost every way, the group’s technical perfection making their interpretation all the more harrowing.

The booklet notes do a good job of evoking the performers’ love of the music, and I was amused to note that each singled out as their favourite the work that gives them the biggest solo. The cellist is conscious of this, pointing out that he would love the Ginastera even without the cello melody in the slow movement.
 
All in all, this is a promising start to a string quartet’s career. I look forward to hearing more from them. That said, among rising quartets from North and South America, the Simón Bolívar players don’t necessarily merit greater attention than the Pacifica, Jasper, Parker, Cypress or Cecilia String Quartets.
 
Brian Reinhart

Masterwork Index: Dvorak American quartet ~~ Shostakovich quartets