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Alla Czeca - Erwin Schulhoff: Five Pieces, WV 68; Josef Suk: 'St. Wenceslaus' Meditation; Dvorak: Quartet Op. 106 / Signum Quartett

Album Summary

>Schulhoff, Erwin : Pieces (5) for string quartet
>Suk, Josef : Meditation on an old Czech hymn "St Wenceslas", Op. 35a
>Dvorak, Antonin : Quartet for Strings no 13 in G major, Op. 106/B 192
Ensemble Composers
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Notes & Reviews:

Short after the most successful album "sound escapes" (Capriccio C5239) the young and aspiring Signum Quartet take care of the Bohemian Music Culture. Beside the famous String Quartet Op. 106 by Antonín Dvorák ('I am very satisfied with everything I have accomplished in this quartet.') and the Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale 'St. Wenceslaus', full of impressions of the beginning of the 1st World War, by Josef Suk, are finally the 1923 composed Five Pieces for String Quartet by Erwin Schulhoff, which all experiment with dance forms, a very virtuosity challenge. 'Music is never philosophy' (Erwin Schulhoff). The succinct statement conceals what was capable of so lastingly impressing Charles Burney already in his time: direct, if possible, spontaneous expression in music.

BBC Music Magazine
An intensely expressive account of Suk's Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale makes an ideal still point before the mellifluous outpouring of Dvorak's Quartet. The Signums capture its volatile spirit, balancing line against the rapid textural figures with robust grace…the germ of Schulhoff's dances can be heard in a buoyant Scherzo, which here has just the right bitter tang.

Gramophone Magazine
The Signum's strength is in the way they etch Ervin Schulhoff's entertaining - and occasionally touching - Five Pieces for string quartet of 1923. Their lilting, slightly sardonic manner with this music quite won me over.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
The Signum disc is enriched by seldom-heard works by Schulhoff and Suk. Schulhoff (1894-1942) is an interesting figure - a Czech composer who served in WWI, studied and worked in Germany, became a communist and eventually a Russian citizen, only to die in a German concentration camp. His Five Pieces for String Quartet (1923) are short, averaging about 2-1/2 minutes each, and exploit dance rhythms. The music is spikey and exciting, a little like Bartok. They are in any case nice pieces, and quartets looking for unusual modern repertory should look them up.

Suk's Meditation on St Wenceslaus, done in the original quartet version, is earlier, dating from 1914 and the beginning of the Great War. It is a late romantic work, dedicated in a sense to the Czech people, who hold St Wenceslaus as their national patron saint. This Josef Suk (1874-1935), by the way, was the pupil and later son-in-law of Dvorak; the Josef Suk we remember from a few decades ago (as a member of the Suk Trio) is the grandson of the composer (and hence the great-grandson of Dvorak).

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2 (04/06/2014-04/09/2014).



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Works Details

>Schulhoff, Erwin : Pieces (5) for string quartet
  • Ensemble: Signum Quartett
  • Notes: München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2 (04/06/2014-04/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1923

>Suk, Josef : Meditation on an old Czech hymn "St Wenceslas", Op. 35a
  • Notes: München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2 (04/06/2014-04/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914

>Dvorak, Antonin : Quartet for Strings no 13 in G major, Op. 106/B 192
  • Notes: München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2 (04/06/2014-04/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 36 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 12/09/1895