Magazine article Gramophone

Kodaly: String Quartets

Magazine article Gramophone

Kodaly: String Quartets

Article excerpt


String Quartets--No 1, Op 2; No 2, Op 10. Gavotte. Intermezzo

Dante Quartet

Hyperion [F] CDA67999 (67' * DDD)


Kodaly's two string quartets tend to linger under the shadow of the mighty 'six pack' that his compatriot Bartok wrote over a period of some 30 years. True, their language is less outspoken than Bartok's and their expressive range is less adventurous, but they deserve more attention than they've so far received. The Second Quartet (1916-18) is the one closest in spirit and style to Kodaly's instrumental masterpiece, his Solo Cello Sonata, Op 8 (1915). And yet its angular, contrapuntally tangled opening anticipates Bartok's Fourth Quartet by some 10 years. The folk element that both composers held so close to their hearts is most evident in the second and third movements, the former also alluding to Bartok's haunting 'night music' episodes.

I'd say that overall Kodaly's style more approximates his compatriots Dohnanyi or even Miklos Rozsa than Bartok, the shimmering closing minutes of the 1909 First Quartet's Lento assai (from 9'05" into tr 2) alluding unmistakably to Dohnanyi's Serenade in C for string trio, which was composed five years earlier. …

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