Janácek: String Quartets Nos. 1

Janácek: String Quartets Nos. 1 "Kreutzer Sonata" & 2 "Intimate Letters"; Dvorák: Piano Quintet - Dumka

by Alban Berg Quartet
     
 

Leos Janácek did not compose his first string quartet until 1923, when the composer was already almost 70 years of age. His choice of the emotionally and intimately poignant medium of the string quartet was both artistically and personally motivated. Janácek was in love with a woman, Kamila Stosslova, who was nearly 40 years younger than he. The first quartet, "The… See more details below

Overview

Leos Janácek did not compose his first string quartet until 1923, when the composer was already almost 70 years of age. His choice of the emotionally and intimately poignant medium of the string quartet was both artistically and personally motivated. Janácek was in love with a woman, Kamila Stosslova, who was nearly 40 years younger than he. The first quartet, "The Kreutzer Sonata," titled after the Tolstoy novel of the same name, was the first musical encapsulation of Janácek's feelings for Kamila. Despite its tumultuous outpouring of emotions, the first quartet is not as overtly directed at Kamila. That distinction falls on the second quartet, subtitled "Intimate Letters," which culminates in a magnificently and unabashedly romantic finale. Performing these two fiendishly difficult masterpieces is the Alban Berg Quartet. Formed in 1971 and sadly dissolved in 2008 after the tragic death of violist Thomas Kakuska, the Alban Berg Quartet distinguished itself throughout its career with performances characterized by tight intonation; a warm, cohesive tone; a magnificent unity of musical vision; and deep musical and emotional understandings of the score. These two quartet recordings were originally made in the early '90s and remain among the most definitive examples available. The disc also includes the second movement of Dvorák's "Op. 81 Piano Quintet." While the playing is equally superb, giving listeners only one movement definitely seems like an afterthought designed to fill disc space.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/2008
Label:
Emi Classics
UPC:
5099920828226
catalogNumber:
08282

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. String Quartet No. 1 ("Kreutzer Sonata"), JW 7/8  - Leos Janácek  -  Alban Berg Quartet  - Egon Schiele
  2. String Quartet No. 2 ("Listy duverné," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13  - Leos Janácek  -  Alban Berg Quartet  - Egon Schiele
  3. Piano Quintet in A major, B. 155 (Op. 81) (once listed as Op. 77): 2. Dumka: Andante con moto  - Antonin Dvorák  -  Alban Berg Quartet  - Elisabeth Leonskaja  - Egon Schiele

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