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Zemlinsky: Complete String Quartets Import

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Audio CD, Import, June 1, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Quatuor LaSalle

Product Details

  • Performer: Lasalle Quartet
  • Composer: Alexander von Zemlinsky
  • Audio CD (June 1, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Brilliant
  • ASIN: B003H2E34W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,872 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2011
*
The story of Zemlinsky is now well known: Schönberg's only mentor and eventual brother-in-law. The unusual Viennese Z+S duo were regular callers at Mahler's house--(indeed, Alma had been a pupil of Zemlinsky and for a brief time his lover [?!]).

Alexander (von) Zemlinsky had a good central-European career, but died in poverty and anonymity during WW2 at New York City.
(Schönberg was then living in Hollywood, but had his hands full caring for his own family with young children.)

Zemlinsky's ethos is a cosmopolitian synthesis of Wagner, Brahms, Strauss, and Mahler.
Much of his work until WW1 is in the gorgeous vein of musical Art Nouveau (Jugendstil).

His later work between the Wars incorporates Modernistic tendencies--including American jazz elements; however, he was never a serialist of Schönberg's 12-Tone School.

Setting several of his texts to music, Zemlinsky apparently felt an affinity with the decadent aesthetic of Oscar Wilde whose work in translation underwent a resurgence of interest on the Continent after his death in 1900.

This fine set of his four String Quartets in superlative readings by the brilliant LaSalle is from the late-'70s/early-'80s originally issued by Deutsche Grammophon.

*
See also:
Zemlinsky: String Quartets
Zemlinsky: Lieder
...Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on May 23, 2013
One way to think about Zemlinsky's string quartets is that they are "the quartets that Mahler never wrote." That's not fair, of course -- Zemlinsky was not merely a Mahler epigone. But they were both Vienna composers, Zemlinsky was a member of Mahler's circle, along with Schoenberg, and like Mahler, Zemlinsky creatively and restlessly pushed the boundaries of late Romanticism using similar resources.

These superb LaSalle Quartet recordings were made in 1977, 1980, and 1981. Well known for their Second Vienna School set of Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, the LaSalles were immersed in the music of the Vienna composers who followed Mahler and Zemlinsky and blazed the trail into atonal and serialist music. (This is the Brilliant reissue of the original Deutsche Grammophon release of 1989.)

Zemlinsky was Schoenberg's teacher in 1895, and Schoenberg married Zemlinsky's sister in 1901. Zemlinsky (1871-1942), just three years older than Schoenberg, was fully aware of the revolution Schoenberg was leading, but chose not to follow. As Horst Weber says in his extensive and informative liner notes in the original Deutsche Grammophone release, "[a] certain aggressive posture, assumed by composers like Beethoven and Schoenberg, was alien to Zemlinsky, as it was to Schubert."

Of the four quartets, "No. 2, op. 15" and "No. 4, op. 25," are masterpieces:

String Quartet No. 1 in A major, op. 4 (1896) 26'35
in four movements

String Quartet No. 2, op. 15 (1913-14) 38'48
in six movements

String Quartet No. 3, op.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James E. Adams on January 20, 2014
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The Brilliant label has again served music lovers and record collectors well. This 2-CD set is the highly-praised DG recording of the four Zemlinsky string quartets which I have been kicking myself for not buying back in the 1980s and -90s. It has been out of the catalog for some time, until Brilliant Classics rereleased it.

The First Quartet is lyrical and thoroughly enjoyable, in a post-Brahmsian idiom. Nos. 2-4 are more advanced harmonically and more ambiguous regarding tonality, but, to lean a little on the 1996 Penguin Guide review, interest-grabbing counterpoint, a satisfying variety of mood, lucid structure and thoughtful integration of thematic material combine to produce a significant contribution to 20th Century quartet literature, as compelling in its Viennese way as the more famous Bartok Six.

The Zemlinsky quartets are for anyone interested in post-Mahlerian, non-serial, freely-tonal, incident-rich chamber music of the highest quality. A rarity, the First Quartet by fellow-Austrian Hans Erich Apostel, fills out the second disc in a similar vein. The LaSalle Quartet perform with commitment, understanding, beautiful sound and excellent ensemble, and they are given a fine recording. There have been other well-received recordings of these quartets, but I've only read the reviews. The present set is self-recommending and a real bargain.

The insert contains a helpful program note, but for a detailed guide to this highly-organized and endlessly-engrossing repertoire, I recommend the analysis (with music examples) of Antony Beaumont in his fascinating and definitive biography, "Zemlinsky."
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