Dvorak - Piano Quartets 1 & 2 | Supraphon SU42572

Dvorak - Piano Quartets 1 & 2

£12.30

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Label: Supraphon

Cat No: SU42572

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 16th November 2018

Contents

About

Antonín Dvořák had a passion for chamber music; he liked playing it with friends, and perhaps soon came to realise how good a commercial commodity such pieces represented. He wrote the first of his two piano quartets, op.23, at the age of 34, by which time many a publisher was interested in his works. The period Czech media voiced their satisfaction that Dvořák had moved beyond foreign influence, with the Slavic spirit having prevailed in his music. Cases in point include his Moravian Duets, op.20, and Serenade, op.22, created at the same time. The publisher Fritz Simrock bitterly regretted having rejected the First Quartet, persistently reminding the composer: “I would gladly take a piano quartet, preferably even two”. When in the summer of 1889 Dvořák got down to writing his Second Quartet, he complained of having a “slow hand”, yet stressed that he had plenty of ideas: “My head is full of it ... I have finished three movements of a new quartet with piano, and the finale will be ready in a few days. It has gone smoothly beyond expectation, with the melodies rolling in to me.” The sheer beauty of the piece was cogently described by the prominent Vienna-based critic Eduard Hanslick: “The quartet requires that the listener be considerably attentive and well informed, which, however, really pays off.” The ensemble bearing the composer’s name have linked up to the feted tradition of their great teachers – Ivan Moravec, Josef Vlach and Milan Škampa. They present Dvořák at his finest, both conventional and sophisticated.

Recorded in Prague at the Martinů Hall, Academy of Performing Arts, 23 and 24 May 2018 (op.87) and 29 and 30 June 2018 (op.23)

Reviews

It’s good to have another disc pairing Dvořák’s two piano quartets – not as popular a choice as you might imagine – and you’d expect an ensemble named after the composer to be at one with his music. The Dvořák Quartet bring an endearing affability to the opening movement of the First Piano Quartet ...There are fine things in the Second Quartet, too, and the Dvořák Quartet offer the ideal combination of strength and rounded sonorities at the outset. ... Overall, then, a fine new addition to the Dvořák discography.  Harriet Smith
Gramophone March 2019

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