Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek * Martinu: Janacek String Quartets-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek * Martinu: Janacek String Quartets-No 1

Article excerpt

Janacek * Martinu

Janacek String Quartets--No 1, 'The Kreutzer Sonata'; No 2, 'Intimate Letters'

Martinu String Quartet No 3, H183

Doric Quartet

Chandos [F] CHAN10848 (59' * DDD)

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Janacek's two string quartets are now classics, lending themselves to different interpretations, of which these by the admirable Doric Quartet are very striking. Essentially, they seem concerned with the narrative elements--the grim little Tolstoy story in No 1, the composer's devotion to Kamila Stosslova in No 2--but no less with exploiting the astonishing range of expressive colour that Janacek found in the medium. So the viola's answering phrase to the bold opening chords of No 2, marked to be played pianissimo and sul ponticello, has a refined, barely audible eeriness; and later in the work, when Janacek writes a cluster of notes that are not really a chord, just a noise, very loudly sul ponticello, they are not afraid to make it fierce and almost toneless. …

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