Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt Competition Winner Joins Swiss Quartet for Dvorak

Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt Competition Winner Joins Swiss Quartet for Dvorak

Article excerpt


Piano Quintet No 2, Op 81 B155 (a).

String Quartet No 12, 'American', Op 96 B179

(a) Teo Gheorghiu pf Carmina Quartet

Sony Classical (F) 88725 47948-2 (67' * DDD)

Interesting as these performances occasionally are, they lack conviction because their mannerisms too often prove conspicuous. The Quintet's broad opening, which should smile, is doleful, and when the Allegro flies in on its tail the effect is disturbingly abrupt. Teo Gheorghiu's little linking solo is too fussy, the first subject proper laboured. In the Dumka second movement, tempo relations are less than fluid and at 5'08" there's an added note that I've never heard before (maybe a textual anomaly?). The Scherzo's Trio plods, at least to start with, and I can't quite work out what has happened at the very start of the American Quartet's Lento, where the notation appears to have been tweaked.

These and other minor oddities could be glossed over were the performances themselves more compelling, but in this repertoire, competition is simply too hot for the survival of anything less than the fittest. Andras Schiff and the Panocha Quartet also have some individual touches up their sleeves (Schiff wouldn't be Schiff without them) but their 1997 Teldec version of the Quintet is far more successful--more natural--than the version under review. Just as good, and from three years earlier, is the Panocha's Supraphon recording with the peerless Jan Panenka: admittedly one of the more relaxed options--genial, sensitively phrased and profoundly musical. As to the American, we're spoilt for choice, but for those intent on collecting a complete quartet cycle, the recently released Vogler Quartet version on CPO (part of a double-pack that also includes Opp 34, 47 and 51) is highly competitive. …

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