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Szymanowski, Rozycki: String Quartets / Royal String Quartet

Album Summary

>Szymanowski, Karol : Quartet for Strings no 1 in C major, Op. 37, M41
>Rózycki, Ludomir : Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 49
>Szymanowski, Karol : Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 56, M64
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The all-Polish Royal String Quartet's debut recording for Hyperion features music by Szymanowski and Rózycki. The two Szymanowski quartets are contrasting masterpieces from different periods in the composer’s career. The first is impressionistic, with a voluptuous, erotic sensibility and many layers of texture and color. The second is from the composer’s last phase and draws on the full range of folk materials he had encountered in the Tatra highlands. The disc concludes with a contemporary rarity, the string quartet by Rózycki, a work that shows the virtues of a late-Romantic idiom untouched by French or Russian style.

'This welcome new disc ... The Royals have a special feeling for texture and colour, which is vital in this music, but an equally strong sense of structure ... Every note in these pieces remains distinctive and original - confirming Szymanowski as a still underrated master of the medium. Making what must now count as the best recording of these works even more satisfying, the Szymanowski quartets are wrapped around the String Quartet of Rózycki ... a hidden gem' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is what Szymanowski needs: firm, full-bodied playing, with a wide range of dynamic, colour and attack, and with all the unexpected twists and turns confidently negotiated ... In every way this comfortably outstrips the disappointing recording by the Schoenberg quartet, making a persuasive bid for best available version ... The clarity of the recording lets the myriad details speak eloquently' (Gramophone)

'They play Szymanowski's two quartets with exactly the right combination of local folksy fervour and the textural variety that their country's most important composer after Chopin shared with his modernist contemporaries. The results are the finest performances of these two compact and luminously intense works currently available' (The Guardian)

'These Polish musicians give rich-hued and intelligent performances of each of the three works ... Szymanowski's First Quartet is strongly individual music ... A decade later, the Second Quartet is expressed with yet more confidence' (The Sunday Times)

'This is music for consenting adults only. Imagine the steamier bits of Wagner's Tristan, the mystical frenzy of Skryabin and the lusciousness of Ravel's String Quartet combined together, and you'll have some idea of Karol Szymanowski's two string quartets ... The Royal String Quartet do them proud' (The Daily Telegraph)

'A loving performance of sweeping emotional impact... the quartet's buzzing, humming, piercing presence packs a gratifying wallop' (Fanfare, USA)



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Works Details

>Szymanowski, Karol : Quartet for Strings no 1 in C major, Op. 37, M41
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (03/21/2008-03/23/2008)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1917

>Ludomir Rózycki (1884 - 1953) : Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 49
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (03/21/2008-03/23/2008)
  • Running Time: 32 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915-1916

>Szymanowski, Karol : Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 56, M64
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (03/21/2008-03/23/2008)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1927