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Smetana: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Sibelius: Voces intimae
     

Smetana: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Sibelius: Voces intimae

by Dante Quartet
 
Though both Jean Sibelius and Bedrich Smetana are well-known for their contributions to the nationalistic movements in their respective countries, the semi-autobiographical quartets of both composers (two for Smetana, one for Sibelius) instead focus on dark, tragic aspects of their own lives. Smetana's quartets highlight some of the positive events in his life, but

Overview

Though both Jean Sibelius and Bedrich Smetana are well-known for their contributions to the nationalistic movements in their respective countries, the semi-autobiographical quartets of both composers (two for Smetana, one for Sibelius) instead focus on dark, tragic aspects of their own lives. Smetana's quartets highlight some of the positive events in his life, but are more a representation of the gradual march toward deafness and the decline of his career. Sibelius, who struggled with depression and isolation, writes an equally revealing depiction of his more private inner turmoil. Performing these three emotionally charged works is the equally emotive, demonstrative Dante Quartet. Conceptually, its playing is ideal for showing listeners the very raw emotions present in these scores. It ably shifts from intimacy to forceful extroversion. Execution, however, occasionally falls short as the desire to show stark emotional contrasts often produces uneven sound. Quiet, still, slow sections -- particularly the Largo sostenuto of Smetana's "First Quartet" -- are the high point of the recording. Here, listeners are drawn in to a beautifully contoured sound quality, even balance, and uniformity of articulation. As intensity builds, sound quality diminishes. In the loudest, most forceful sections of the album, balance becomes muddy and problematic, a good deal of unnecessary production noise can be heard, and some members -- particularly the cello -- generating a decidedly forced sound.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/10/2011
Label:
Hyperion Uk
UPC:
0034571178455
catalogNumber:
67845

Tracks

  1. String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, JB 1:124
  2. String Quartet No. 1 in E minor ("Z mého, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1:105
  3. String Quartet in D minor ("Voces Intimae"), Op. 56

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