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Stravinsky/Schnittke/Roslavets/Smirnov/Firsova: Russian String Quartets

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Audio CD, February 22, 2005
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Three Pieces/IChilingirian Quartet0:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Three Pieces/IIChilingirian Quartet 2:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Three Pieces/IIIChilingirian Quartet 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. ConcertinoChilingirian Quartet 6:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Double Canon - Raoul Dufy in memoriamChilingirian Quartet 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Canon - In memory of StravinskyChilingirian Quartet 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Quartet No. 3Chilingirian Quartet13:03$1.98  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Quartet No. 2/AndantinoChilingirian Quartet 6:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Quartet No. 2/LentoChilingirian Quartet 8:47$1.98  Buy MP3 
listen10. Quartet No. 4 - AmorosoChilingirian Quartet15:30$2.97  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Chilingirian Quartet
  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky, Alfred Schnittke, Nikolai Andreyevich Roslavets, Dmitri Smirnov, Elena Firsova
  • Audio CD (February 22, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00069I6Q0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This is the reissue of a Conifer CD which was originally published in 1995, which I have reviewed at length, and I refer you to that review for more details. It affords an interesting and intelligently conceived program of Russian compositions for string quartet, but promises slightly more than it delivers. It starts with Stravinsky's complete output for the medium, which the Chilingirian Quartet plays perhaps with a tad too much elegance. Roslavets, along with Mosolov, was one of the most interesting figures of the modernist trend in early Soviet Union, until both were suppressed and rejected into near oblivion by the new Stalinist academism, so hearing any of his compositions will be of interest. That said, his short (12') 3rd quartet from 1920 is couched in a rather impersonal modernist idiom reminiscent of Berg, Hindemith and Bloch.

Dmitri Smirov (b. 1948) and Elena Firsova (b. 1950) happen to be husband and wife and maybe that's why both their quartets - Smirnov's 2nd dates from 1985 and Firsova's 4th, "Amoroso", was written in 1989, and both are short works, each timing under 15' - share many common aspects, including a passionate but thorny and angular utterance reminiscent of Berg's and Schoenberg's quartets, and a fascination with high-pitched violin melismas. Smirnov's is dedicated to the couple's newborn son and each of its two movements is a lullaby, but I feel that the composer doesn't always succeed in transcending the almost kitschy simplicity of some of his base material. As for Firsova, her 3rd quartet, "Misterioso", played by the Lydian Quartet (to whom the 4th is dedicated) on an MCA CD released in 1990 seems to me more original and a better introduction to this composer.
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Stravinsky/Schnittke/Roslavets/Smirnov/Firsova: Russian String Quartets
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