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Antonín Dvorák: Bagatelles Op. 47; Terzetto Op. 74; String Quintet Op. 77 / Scharoun Ensemble Berlin

Album Summary

>Dvorak, Antonin : Bagatelles (5) for 2 violins, cello & harmonium, B. 79 (Op. 47)
>Dvorak, Antonin : Terzetto for 2 violins & viola in C major, B. 148 (Op. 74)
>Dvorak, Antonin : Quintet for String Quartet and Double Bass in G major, Op. 77/B 49
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

These works are among Antonn Dvorak's most valued creations. His youthful String Quintet Op. 77 is a "symphony for strings" with a modern feel; scoring it with a double bass produced a novel, visionary and highly romantic soundscape. The two other works, both written as domestic music for his Prague friends, could hardly be more different. The inclusion of a harmonium lends the Bagatelles Op. 47 a quite unique magic. Dvorak wrote of the Terzetto Op. 74: "I'm now writing little Bagatelles ... the work is as enjoyable as writing a great symphony." Despite their rather modest technical demands, these are singular masterpieces, with a sonority unmatched in music history. The virtuosic interpretation by the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin emphasizes the works' merit, giving us chamber music with a symphonic breadth: it is quite obvious that the performers are members of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
The Opus 77 Quintet is nowhere near as attractive a piece as the Opus 97, but it is played so well here that I was glad to hear it. Opus 77 adds a double bass instead, yielding a more substantial sound.

I like this performance. Stephen Estep used the word "joy" to describe their playing in a reissue (Nov/Dec 2008), and in the original review Carl Bauman described the Panocha performance as "first class" and "the finest available". I think it still is.

The Bagatelles sound a little too "thick" and "brown" here. Of course, some people prefer it that way. I have four other recordings of these pieces for two violins, cello, and harmonium (pump organ). The Harmonia Mundi recording with the French Ensemble Explorations (July/Aug 2007) is brighter and more cheerful and actually more "Czech". You also hear more of the harmonium on Harmonia Mundi.

That leaves the Terzetto for two violins and viola. It takes around 18 minutes. This seems a fine performance and the Alberni also includes excellent Bagatelles).

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Kammermusiksaal der Berliner Philharmonie (05/2013/06/2013); Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Saal (05/2013/06/2013).



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Works Details

>Dvorak, Antonin : Bagatelles (5) for 2 violins, cello & harmonium, B. 79 (Op. 47)
  • Ensemble: Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
  • Running Time: 17 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Dvorak, Antonin : Terzetto for 2 violins & viola in C major, B. 148 (Op. 74)
  • Ensemble: Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
  • Notes: Composition written: 01/07/1887-01/14/1887.
  • Running Time: 17 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Dvorak, Antonin : Quintet for String Quartet and Double Bass in G major, Op. 77/B 49
  • Ensemble: Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
  • Running Time: 33 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: ?01/1875-03/1875