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Smetana: String Quartets Nos.1 & 2; Sibelius: Voces Intimae / Dante Quartet

Album Summary

>Sibelius, Jean : Quartet for Strings in D minor ("Voces Intimae"), Op. 56
>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor ("Z mého, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1
>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 2 in D minor, T 131
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Interestingly, Smetana and Sibelius, both renowned for their skillful dealing with symphonic forces, turned to the intimacy of the string quartet form at specific points of crisis in their lives. Smetana's first quartet, subtitled 'From my life,' musically chronicles his youth, loves and vocation, culminating with the onset of his deafness. The turbulent second quartet serves as a sequel. The musical language is adventurous and unusual, speaking movingly of the composer's loss of his hearing. Voces intimae is an intense precursor to Sibelius' tormented fourth symphony, written at a time of profound depression. On this CD, BBC Music Magazine award winners the Dante Quartet are featured in their third recording for Hyperion.

Works:
Smetana: String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
Sibelius: Voces Intimae, Op. 56

Artists:
Dante Quartet

Sunday Times
This is an imaginative grouping: three autobiographical, confessional string quartets from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [Smetana's] No. 2 is unrelievedly harrowing, written when he was a sick man, and sometimes dismissed as a failure. That is not how it sounds in this committed performance by the Dante, who also make the most of the soul-searching of Sibelius's solitary quartet.

Gramophone Magazine
The Dante Quartet can scarcely be faulted in terms of passionate attack. Each performance is eloquent, intense and emotionally gripping...the urgency of all the fast movements is compelling.

The Telegraph
Different they might be, but the three quartets on this programme share a quality of intimacy and soul-searching that the Dante captures poignantly and powerfully, not overstating the issue but finding a mode of expression that encapsulates shifts of mood...The fluctuations of darkness and light, the juxtapositions of animation and still reflection, are communicated here with palpable heart.

International Record Review
The members of the Dante Quartet...offer an intense, dynamic and fully committed version of Smetana's 'From My Life', seizing the air immediately, giving a dramatic, even orchestral account of it...These performances are superb - the Dante Quartet players really have the ability to bring music alive and sustain the listener through these examples of quartet repertoire that may still be finding homes.

Classic FM Magazine
The Dante Quartet has developed into a force to be reckoned with...Each player contributes bag-loads of personality, drawing out the chill winds of Sibelius and the earthy rhythms of Smetana's Czech polkas, against which the onset of the composer's hearing-loss - depicted by a high-pitched violin whine - is all too heart-rending.

BBC Music Magazine
There's no grand statement, or positivity here, and that's reinforced by the obsessive way that Sibelius turns around his limited material, and by the Dante Quartet's refusal to glamorise the music. Their tone remains lean, and they don't milk the dynamics...By the time of the Second Quartet, Smetana's final madness was almost upon him; the Dantes characterise its rapid mood with cold intensity.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (07/07/2010-07/10/2010).



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Works Details

>Sibelius, Jean : Quartet for Strings in D minor ("Voces Intimae"), Op. 56
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (07/07/2010-07/10/2010)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1908-1909

>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor ("Z mého, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1 :: 105
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (07/07/2010-07/10/2010)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1876

>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 2 in D minor, T 131 :: 124
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (07/07/2010-07/10/2010)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1882-1883