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

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Andrés ISASI (1890-1940)
String Quartets - Volume 3
String Quartet No, 1 in G Manor Op. 11 (1911 rev. 1914) [23:58]
String Quartet No. 5 in C minor Op. 32 (1921) [24:45]
Violin Sonata in F minor Op. 25 (1917) [23:14]
The Isasi Quartet (Anna Bohigas (violin 1), Enekoitz Mantines (violin 2), Karsten Dobers (viola), Teresa Valente (cello)); Marta Zabaleta (piano)
rec. 2009/13, Château d’Arcangues, France; Auditorium of the J. C. Arriaga Conservatory, Bilbao, Spain
NAXOS 8.572462 [72:10]

This constitutes the third and final disc Naxos have dedicated to the string quartets of Basque composer, Andrés Isasi. Indeed Naxos have served this composer well, this being the fourth CD of his music, which is more than all the other record companies together have managed. The Naxos recording of the Symphony No. 2 was reviewed here and here. The earliest Isasi disc the site has surveyed forms volume 4 of Claves' 'Basque Music Collection' (review).

I remember being somewhat disappointed by the music offered on the first release in the String Quartet series (8.472463), so much so that I still have not got Volume 2 (8.572464) and after repeated listening to this disc, it will be a while longer before I decide to invest in it. The problem for me is one of musical language; I like my Spanish composers to offer music with a Spanish soul, whereas here we get music clearly influenced by his musical education in Berlin, where his teachers included Engelbert Humperdinck. The music of the quartets, which has been edited by the violist, Karsten Dobers, is more central European than Iberian. The notes talk of the initial influences of Grieg and Dvořák on the development of his style, if so it was early Dvořák rather than his later masterpieces. This is pleasant music which is Germanic in flavour with excerpts which sound almost English. The music harks back to the early romanticism of the mid-nineteenth century, I especially enjoyed the slow second movement of the Fifth Quartet. If there is any Basque influences here they are masked by the heavy cloak of the great Austro-German tradition.

The Violin Sonata, which is the latest work on this disc, at least sounds as if it was composed in the twentieth century. It is here that the Basque influence comes through, though with tinges of late-romanticism in the guise of Richard Strauss. This is my favourite work on the two discs that I own, which is saying something as I am a string quartet nut. The national influences come from Basque melodies and songs which Isasi has developed into his own unique style. The piano writing has a particularly Spanish feel. This is echoed in the violin, which has some particularly Spanish virtuosic phrasing. I could almost say that this work alone is worth the investment in this disc.

The Isasi Quartet has a warmth which accentuates the romanticism of the music, with their first violin, Anna Bohigas, being joined for a spirited and enjoyable performance of the Sonata by the pianist, Marta Zabaleta. Both quartets and the Sonata have been recorded well by the engineers, while the brief notes are very helpful and informative.

Stuart Sillitoe