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Prokoviev: String Quartet 1 & 2; Sonata for Two Violins

Album Summary

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Quartet for Strings no 1 in B minor, Op. 50
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Sonata for 2 violins in C major, Op. 56
>Prokofiev, Sergey : Quartet for Strings no 2 in F major ("Kabardinian"), Op. 92
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Since winning the International Competition at Prague Spring 2005 and the Paolo Borciani competition in Italy in Spring 2005, the Pavel Haas Quartet has quickly become known to audiences, critics and promoters around the world as one of today's most exciting young string quartets. Based in Prague, the ensemble has spent the past few years traveling throughout Europe to study with some of the masters of the quartet world, including members of the Quartetto Italiano, Quatuor Mosaiques and the Borodin and Amadeus Quartets.

"This is a great disc. Prokofiev was as unlikely a composer as we might possibly imagine to write successful chamber music for stringshis general avoidance of counterpoint hardly bodes well for quartet compositionAnd yet both quartets here, as well as the remarkable Sonata for Two Violins, turn out to be remarkably accomplished and characteristicThe First quartethas never been better playedThe Pavel Haas Quartet, in the best Czech tradition, has the ability to play with a maximum of rhythmic energy without a shred of timbral crudityIdeally warm, clear, well-balanced engineering flatters the performances, making this disc an essential addition to any Prokofiev collection." - Classics Today (10/10)

"...Based, like Myaskovsky's 23rd Symphony, on ideologically vetted Kabardinian folk materials, Prokofiev's Second Quartet is one of the most immediately attractive quartets in the repertoire. It dates from 1941 when the two men were evacuated to the relative stability of the Caucasus and points east. That Prokofiev's young companion Mira Mendelson was in tow might explain the jollity of the outer movements although their music can be tough as well as witty. In the wondrous Adagio the cello line rises high, ghostly melodic statements in octaves can expose the smallest tuning difficulties and pizzicati needs must sparkle like ice. The young players pass every test before dispatching the inventive finale with equal aplomb, differentiating a wide variety of moods and timbres within a swiftish frame.

The strenuously wrought First Quartet comes off just as well. It's a pre-Soviet score and hence formally heretical as well as rather more advanced harmonically. After the sometimes Bartókian vehemence of the Vivace element at its core, the work winds down to end slowly on a note of sustained expressive intensity. The concluding Andante, much admired by Myaskovsky and subsequently transcribed for string orchestra, is rarely tackled with the passion you find here. While not as measured as the American Quartet (Olympia), the players give the invention just enough space and are certainly better tuned.

The Sonata for Two Violins, written to Parisian order in 1932, takes in a variety of manners, rhapsodic and intimate as well as brusque, without always persuading us that it is more than the compositional exercise adumbrated in the booklet-notes. Not the fault of its eloquent exponents I'd say. The third movement would seem to be played without the optional mutes.

Of the small clutch of "classic" performances of the component pieces, none is more usefully programmed than the present disc, nor so naturally recorded. Why hesitate?" - Gramophone Awards, 2010 / Chamber nominee

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic.



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Works Details

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Quartet for Strings no 1 in B minor, Op. 50
  • Notes: Domovina Studio, Prague (04/02/2009/04/04/2009)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1930

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Sonata for 2 violins in C major, Op. 56
  • Performers: Veronika Jaruskova (Violin); Eva Karova (Violin)
  • Notes: Domovina Studio, Prague (06/10/2009-06/11/2009)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1932

>Prokofiev, Sergey : Quartet for Strings no 2 in F major ("Kabardinian"), Op. 92
  • Notes: Domovina Studio, Prague (06/19/2009-06/20/2009)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1941