Magazine article Czech Music

Antonin Dvorak

Magazine article Czech Music

Antonin Dvorak

Article excerpt

String Quartets in D minor, Op. 34, B. 75 (1877), & G major, Op. 106, B. 192 (1895)

Zemlinsky Quartet: Frantisek Soucek, Petr Strizek (violin), Petr Holman (viola), Vladimir Fortin (cello)

Text: French, German Recorded: 2012/13 (Studio Mart luck. Prague). Released: 2012, TT: 70:08 DDD.I SACD Praga Digitals (Hannonia Munch) PRD/DSD 250,292

Over the past few years, Antonin Dvorak's quartets have enjoyed increasing interest on the part of record labels, as evidenced by the CDs made by, for example. the Martinu Quartet (Arco Diva, 2011, Opp. 105 & 106), the Cecilia String Quartet (Analekta, 2011, Opp. 106, 54, Cypresses), the Pavel Haas Quartet (Supraphon, 2010, Opp. 96 & 106) and the Emerson Quartet (DG, 2009, Opp. 51, 61, 97, 106, Cypresses). This spring, another interesting studio album was released, this time from the workshop of the Zemlinsky Quartet, an ensemble whose recordings of Dvorak's first seven string quartets (PRD/DSD 350 028) and Franz Schubert's first twelve quartets (PRD 350 030) have been enthusiastically received abroad. Most recently, the quartet's Dvoi=ak discography was extended by the sonically superior and spatially realistic SACD of the String Quartet in D minor, Op. 34, B. 75 (1877, not 1878, as is erroneously stated on the CD's sleeve) and the String Quartet in G major, Op. 106, B. 192 (1895). book-ending Dvorak's mature quartet oeuvre and paramount works in general. Among the twenty-four commercial recordings of the Quartet in D minor I personally am familiar with and the at least thirty-five recordings of the Quartet in G major, the Zemlinsky Quartet's creation, packaged in a graphically first-rate sleeve featuring Vincent van Gogh's Evening Walk and with a booklet whose text is written by Pierre E. Barbier (regrettably though, with errors in Czech diacritics), definitely stands out. The SACD, respecting the chronology of the pieces' origination, opens with the Quartet in 0 minor, dedicated to Brahms, in whose repetitive first movement the ensemble already present themselves with precise interplay, including dynamic proportions (unlike in other recordings, the 1st violin solo in exposition in the second theme does not sound at the expense of the other instruments in terms of dynamics, and similar is the case of the solos delivered by the other instruments too), immediately recognisable cello entries and a beautiful tone of the viola. …

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