- String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 19, KiV 208
- String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, Op. 26, KiV 225
Even considered apart from his juvenile efforts in the genre, Ferruccio Busoni's two string quartets are still a young man's music -- ambitious pieces that show an inquisitive mind and an eagerness to learn, but also a student's strong reliance on antecedents. If the influences on the "String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 19" (1880-1882), can be gathered from listening, then it seems Mendelssohn and Spohr were on Busoni's mind during its composition. Similarly, the "String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, Op. 26" (1887), seems heavily indebted to Bach and Beethoven, though its extremely chromatic lines lend it a searching, late Romantic quality that suggests an impatience with past models and Busoni's growing awareness of his own mettle. That said, Busoni never overreaches and seldom deviates from the norms of quartet writing, except in his tendency in the "String Quartet No. 2" to blur distinctions between parts through excessive imitative counterpoint and extremely close voicings. The Pellegrini-Quartett delivers good performances of these pieces, competently executed and played with appropriate feeling, but Busoni only occasionally provides the players the clear textures and brilliant passagework that would show them to best advantage. CPO's sound quality is, as usual, superb.