Spohr: Double Quartets Nos. 1 & 2by Forde Ensemble
Louis Spohr's four double string quartets might appear at first blush to be octets for four violins, two violas, and two cellos, except for the obvious division of the players into two separate groupings, and for the uneven distribution of labor between them. Because Spohr was one of the greatest violin virtuosi, he generally composed the first violin part with his own extraordinary skills in mind, and more or less matched the difficulty of the first quartet's parts to his; to the second quartet, he assigned a more accompanimental role, and its format was more chordal, as opposed to the first quartet's rather flashy counterpoint. While these double quartets were unique experiments that had little influence on other composers in their day, they have become some of the most enjoyed chamber works from the early Romantic period and have helped revive Spohr's reputation through their continued popularity. This 2009 release of the "Double Quartet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 65" (1823), and the "Double Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 77" (1827), adds to the growing body of recordings, and the translucent performances by the Forde Ensemble make it a worthy competitor to others in the market. The ensemble's approach is light and delicate in "No. 1," while a warmer feeling is achieved in "No. 2," so there is a distinctive character to each performance, and the album as a whole has considerable emotional range. The recorded sound is adequately resonant, though not so much as would detract from the musicians' vibrant string tones and finely detailed ornamentation.
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Performance CreditsForde Ensemble Primary Artist
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