Janacek - String Quartets 1 & 2, Sonnets | Naxos 8574209

Janacek - String Quartets 1 & 2, Sonnets


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Label: Naxos

Cat No: 8574209

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 12th February 2021



Janáček’s final decade saw an almost unprecedented creative renewal during which he wrote some of his greatest works. Among them were his chamber music masterpieces, the two String Quartets. The first was inspired by Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, a torrid tale of adultery and murder to which Janáček responded with music of increasingly frenzied passion. The second was subtitled Intimate Letters, a freely evolving work full of yearning and amorous defiance. Originally cast for four violins, the two youthful Sonnets date from 1875 and balance the archaisms of the first with the lyricism of the second.

The New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) has been the country’s leading chamber ensemble, with a distinguished catalogue of acclaimed recordings. Among these releases included Brahms String Quartets (8573433 and 8573454) in which a Fanfare reviewer exclaimed: ‘These are absolutely scorchinghot, searing performances… These players are so disciplined, [and] so technically accomplished…that the sound they make is without a single blemish.’

NZSQ’s album of Alban Berg’s and Hugo Wolf’s pieces (8557374) also received high praise from ClassicsToday.com: ‘as you listen to these works afresh, you not only marvel at the individual players’ virtuosity, but you also have to appreciate that the relatively warm yet pleasingly “edgy” quality to the sound and the oneness of spirit in the interpretations come from the highest-order functioning of the well-integrated collective parts of a mature, vital body’. (10/10)

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