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String Quartets 2 & 3


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Audio CD, April 26, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


1. Adagio-Moderato Assai
2. Allegro Giusto
3. Andante Ma Non Tanto
4. Allegro Con Moto
5. Andante Sostenuto-Allegro Moderato
6. Allegretto Vivo E Scherzando
7. Andante Funebre E Doloroso, Ma Con Moto
8. Allergo Risoluto

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asv Living Era
  • ASIN: B0006OJQXC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,929 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on April 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
There was a Brodsky Quartet before this one, back in Tchaikovsky's own day. Adolf Brodsky gave the premiere of Tchaikovsky's concerto, and he eventually settled in Manchester, where the members of the new Brodsky Quartet received their musical education, presumably at the great Royal Northern College of Music, although their web-site does not explicitly say so. England needs a top-class new string quartet now that the Lindsays are retiring, and I'm happy to report that this group seem to be filling the bill admirably. I had become aware of them from the Britten quartets in which they are major contenders, and now here is an excellent disc of the second and third Tchaikovsky works.

The best-known instrumental composers of Tchaikovsky's time, other than Dvorak, were not very prolific with string quartets. There are two from Borodin, Brahms got around to three and Franck, who wrote just one of most things, to just one. In compensation there is a fine and most original effort in the genre from Verdi, and a very interesting if distinctly over-long effort by Wolf. Tchaikovsky felt unsure of himself in this medium. His first production, famous for the hackneyed andante cantabile, is on a fairly small scale, but the remaining two are full-sized specimens, very serious in tone. As usual with this composer, the finales are not the strongest movements. Hanslick was hardly exaggerating when he described the last movement of the violin concerto as 'lamentably trivial Cossack cheer', and it seems to me that even in the symphonies the final movements let their predecessors down until the composer went out (in every possible sense) with the masterpiece that concludes the Pathetique.
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Format: Audio CD
I did not respond to this music on first playing; perhaps I was taken aback my its seriousness and expecting something more akin to the "Souvenir de Florence" sextet, but subsequent listening has reconciled me to its quiet pessimism and permitted me to appreciate many of its beauties. Much here is harmonically avant garde and much more adventurous than one might have expected; this is Tchaikovsky in mostly very sombre mood, working in a musical idiom not entirely typical of him and in a genre in which requires him to scale back his habitual, overtly tragic mode of expression, though I kind of desperation keeps breaking through in his use of ostinato figures. The first "andante cantabile" quartet has always been more popular; indeed many are unaware of that Tchaikovsky wrote two subsequent quartets. This is emphatically not "feel good" music; the andantes in both quartets are the strongest movements and see Tchaikovsky returning to mine that rich vein of melancholy more readily associated with him than the rather more bland allegros and allegrettos of the second and fourth movements. I am not entirely convinced by the composer's attempt to provide some sense of relief or resolution by his perky finales - a problem that persists in symphonies before the Pathétique.

The balance between instruments, warm tone and homogeneity of the Brodsky Quartet are really impressive: their intonation is flawless and they play with just the right compromise between restraint and expressiveness to ensure that Tchaikovsky's lamentation does not tip over into mawkishness.

There is a grave beauty to this music that repays concentrated listening; just don't expect shades of the "Nutcracker".
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