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Janácek: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 / Takács Quartet

Album Summary

>Smetana, Bedrich : Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor ("Z mého, zivota," "From My Life"), JB 1
>Janácek, Leos [Composer] : Quartet for Strings no 1 ("Kreutzer Sonata"), JW 7/8
>Janácek, Leos [Composer] : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Listy duverné," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The much-fęted Takács Quartet presents three popular string quartets from Czechoslovakia. Janácek's String Quartet No.1 was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's novella, The Kreutzer Sonata, which was in turn inspired by Beethoven's Violin Sonata No.9. Janácek's String Quartet No.2 was dedicated to his friendship with Kamila Stösslová, a married woman 38 years his junior with whom he exchanged over 700 letters. As the subtitle suggests, Smetana's String Quartet No.1 'From My Life' is semi-autobiographical and consists of sketches of periods from Smetana's life. All three works share narrative undercurrents that draw performances of gripping engagement from this elite group of players.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2015
For a moment or two in the Smetana one might think that the Takßcs Quartet's almost Olympian objectivity wouldn't suit music that often seems to well up so directly from the heart. In fact it's a vindication of Smetana as a large-scale dramatic architect. And that 'objectivity' doesn't prevent 'From my life' becoming surprisingly moving at times... the same is true of the Janßcek. The music touches, stirs, excites, but at the same time you're aware of how strongly each quartet is shaped as a whole.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
The first movement of the Smetana is a little under tempo and fitfully phrased. II is congenial. III is often beautiful. IV fares the best. Even if the tempos and approach appealed to me, I'd still characterize the performance as cosmopolitan.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (08/16/2014-08/20/2014).



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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: Takács Quartet
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (08/16/2014-08/20/2014)
  • Running Time: 27 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1876

>Janácek, Leos [Composer] : Quartet for Strings no 1 ("Kreutzer Sonata"), JW 7/8
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (08/16/2014-08/20/2014)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1923

>Janácek, Leos [Composer] : Quartet for Strings no 2 ("Listy duverné," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (08/16/2014-08/20/2014)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1928