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Janacek: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 'From My Life' / Jerusalem Quartet

Album Summary

>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor ("Z meho, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1
>Janácek, Leos : Quartet for Strings no 1 "Kreutzer Sonata"
>Janácek, Leos : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Listy duverne," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The acclaimed Jerusalem Quartet's latest release focuses works by two giants of Czech music. Though Smetana, the founder of the Czech national school, and Janácek, his spiritual heir, are best known as operatic composers, they also left strongly autobiographical chamber works. Composed when he was already profoundly deaf, Smetana's String Quartet No.1 looks back over the different stages of his life. Also written late in life, Janácek's second quartet, subtitled Intimate Letters, describes his unfulfilled passion for Kamila Stösslová, his junior by 38 years.

The Observer, 19th January 2014
The Jerusalem Quartet brings all to life with rigour, intensity and lilting poise.

American Record Guide, May/June 2014
Having recently reviewed several recordings of Smetana's chamber works, I've become very fond of them. This rendition of his quartet From My Life is the best I've heard so far. The Jerusalem Quartet plays with awesome breadth. I is yearningly romantic, II is youthful and joyous, III is wistful, and IV is enthusiastic. The readings of Janacek's two quartets are also exciting. The lyrical passages are captivating, and the Jerusalem effectively executes the wild changes of mood and character, most notably in 2:IV.

Sunday Times, 2nd March 2014
On this magnificent disc, from the viola's fierce attack in the Smetana's fourth bar, their high-voltage playing suits the music perfectly. It also brings out the kinship between the two composers.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2014
There is much to admire here from the excellent Jerusalem Quartet. In Smetana's First Quartet there is the fine opening viola melody...The slow movements of the Janacek quartets are also carefully and thoughtfully played.

International Record Review, April 2014
The Jerusalem Quartet has ample reserves of poison as well as poise - and it attacks this music with quicksilver responsiveness to its shifting emotional landscape ... An imposing release.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (05/2013/07/2013).


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Works Details

>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor ("Z mého, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1 :: 105
  • Ensemble: Jerusalem Quartet
  • Running Time: 25 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1876

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Quartet for Strings no 1 "Kreutzer Sonata"
  • Running Time: 18 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1923

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Listy duverné," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13
  • Running Time: 25 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1928