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

  2022
 57,903 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 from
Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967)
String Quartet No. 1, op. 2 (1908/9) [41:18]
Intermezzo, for string trio (1905) [5:10]
Gavotte, for string quartet (1952) [2:35]
String Quartet No. 2, op. 10 (1916-18) [17:30]
Dante Quartet
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, 2013.
Reviewed as 16-bit lossless download from Hyperion.
HYPERION CDA67999 [66:33]

Kodály is one of those composers whose name seems to be better known than his music. If someone was to ask me to name some of his works, I would have said Háry János, a sonata for solo cello and then I would have had to stop. What’s worse, I wouldn’t have been able to recognise either of those works had someone played them to me. Considering this, I began to wonder whether I was a suitable person to write this review. What I did know was that Kodály, a classmate of Bartók in Budapest, didn’t take the modernist road to the same extent as his more famous friend, and that some have likened Kodály to Vaughan Williams. This encouraged me to think that it was time to get to know some of his music. I daresay there are some readers out there for whom his music is a similarly blank page.

There can’t be too many conventional string quartets longer than Kodály’s First. When you consider that the scherzo third movement is not even five minutes long, it makes the other three very substantial at twelve minutes or thereabouts each. I’m not convinced that there is enough musical content in them to support such major structures. There is a lot of repetition and meandering, especially in the slow movement.  I feel that I should be writing more about a work bordering on three-quarters of an hour long, but I honestly can't.

Much of the disappointment with the First Quartet was washed away by the Second. It is characterised by more engaging melodies, more interesting harmonies and rhythms, and most importantly of all, succinctness. A number of times in the middle movement, it seems as though we are about to hear The Lark Ascending, so similar is the rising melody. Given that the premiere of the Vaughan Williams was in 1920, it would seem that this is one of those odd coincidences. The composer’s interest in the folk music of his country really is given full expression in the final movement, though there are no direct quotations. ArkivMusic lists only three two recordings of the First Quartet, but eight for the Second. I think I see why.

The fillers are genial and entertaining, but no more. The very brief Gavotte, written long after the other works, was originally scored for the unusual combination of three violins and cello, but here the third violin part is taken by the viola.

If you want both quartets, there isn’t much choice. The only other recordings are an early BIS one with the Kontra Quartet, and the Alexander Quartet on Foghorn (review). Dominy Clements in his review of the latter notes that the sound quality for the Kontras is not great. Their First Quartet runs for almost 45 minutes, which I don’t think is a good thing. The Alexanders are unquestionably an outstanding quartet, but their release is a 3-disc set with the six Bartok quartets, making it a more substantial outlay.

I can’t say that my entrée into the world of Kodály’s music has fired me with the desire to seek out more immediately. Perhaps I should have started with some of the presumably more colourful orchestral works.

David Barker