From an early age Max Bruch had enjoyed the ideal conditions for becoming a composer: his family had considerable cultural awareness and gave him all the support he needed. He had already composed not only a (lost) symphony but a significant proportion of his chamber music while still a student. The two youthful String Quartets Op.9 in C minor and Op.10 in E major show a Romantic exuberance poured into classic and classical moulds. The members of the ISOS Quartet — Isabelle van Keulen, Katharine Gowers, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Imke Frank — know each other from several important summer festivals as Lockenhaus and Kuhmo. As their CD debut, they recorded both string quartets by Max Bruch exclusively for Koch International Schwann.
The original Borodin Quartet was founded in 1945 in the Soviet Union and this release marks the Quartet’s 70th anniversary. They enjoyed a close relationship with Shostakovich, and often worked with him as a new quartet was written (and they also recorded the cycle).
‘Arguably the greatest string quartet before the public today’ (The Sunday Times), the Takács Quartet have recorded much of the great Classical and Romantic quartet repertoire during their fruitful career. Now they turn to three masterpieces of the twentieth century.
Acclaimed pianist Piers Lane and his fellow Australians, the Goldner String Quartet, reprise their highly successful partnership in these world-premiere recordings of the two String Quartets and Piano Quintet of Irish composer Hamilton Harty. Born in County Down, Harty (1879–1941) was a remarkable, self-taught musician who wrote in a lyrical Romantic idiom, as evidenced in these appealing works, while incorporating a modal astringency and folk-music charm that are reminiscent of Percy Grainger. In particular, the winding, pentatonic melody of the Lento of the Piano Quintet—a lusciously big-boned work worthy of Tchaikovsky—and the delightful 9/8 ‘hop jig’ of the first movement of String Quartet No 2 seem like settings of folk-melodies that have echoed for centuries around the green hills of Ireland. Intriguingly, however, they are entirely Harty’s own invention.
This wonderful young Polish ensemble continue their exploration of the string quartet repertoire of their homeland with this album of music by two giants of the twentieth century. Witold Lutoslawski, whose centenary is celebrated in 2013, wrote his one and only string quartet in 1964 and it has since maintained an eminent position in the international repertoire. Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933) was the most talked-about Polish composer in the early 1960s and remains an important presence in contemporary music. His three string quartets (1960, 1968 and 2008) are key works in the history of the post-war Polish quartet.
BBC Music Magazine award winners the Dante Quartet return for their third Hyperion recording with the string quartets of Smetana and Sibelius. This group, renowned for their inventive interpretations and sensitive articulation, capture perfectly the expressive intensity of these masterpieces.
This recording by the splendid Gabrieli String Quartet makes a welcome return to the catalogue, and now at ‘Classics’ price. There is little competition for this programme. The well-known British string quartet was founded in 1967 by Kenneth Sillito, who led the ensemble for some twenty years before passing the responsibility to John Georgiadis, at which point the Quartet entered into an exclusive contract with Chandos and made a number of fine recordings. It toured widely abroad and in the UK and was noted for its well-balanced performances. ‘I know this is a disc to be enjoyed again and again. The sound is simply flawless’, wrote the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
At the heart of Beethoven’s life’s statement as a composer lies the cycle of sixteen string quartets, which, to this day, has retained a special status and reverence. Since 2012, the Elias String Quartet has been immersed in its Beethoven Project, performing all Beethoven’s string quartets at venues throughout the UK. In this live recording, the ensemble captures both the intimacy and grandeur of the works. With an ever-expanding recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim, the quartet is delighted to release this disc, the first volume of its complete Beethoven cycle to be recorded live at Wigmore Hall over the coming Seasons.