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Dvorák: String Quartet No. 13, Op. 106 / Janacek: String Quartet No. 2 ~ Artemis Quartet Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, Import, October 31, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Dvorák: String Quartet No. 13, Op. 106 / Janacek: String Quartet No. 2 - Artemis Quartet, Antonin Dvorak (Composer), Leos Janacek (Composer), Artemis Quartet (Performer) This performance of Dvorak's 13th quartet is one of the very best I have heard. It is a bit more intense than those by the Stamitz and the Panocha Quartets. This is especially notable in the slow movement. For me, this little extra adds to the attractiveness of this very well played and stylish performance of Dvorak's quartet. On the other hand, the performance of Janacek's 2nd would benefit from less intensity. The recording quality is excellent.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Artemis Quartet
  • Composer: Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek
  • Audio CD (October 31, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Erato Disques
  • ASIN: B000DZIBN0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,078 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on September 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The total neglect of this album at Amazon is a shame. The Artemis Quartet is gaining fame in Europe as the successor to the mantle long worn by the Alban Berg Quartet. Good as their Beethoven is, this coupling of Dvorak and Janacek is significantly better. Part of the reason is that Dvorak's greatest quartets remain underplayed, with no. 12 "American" carrying most of the weight. If anything, the G major Op. 106 (which used to be No. 14 but now seems to be no. 13) is more sweeping, almost symphonic in character. The first movement i full of drama and variation, not to mention the melodic genius one expects from Dvorak. The slow movement is rare in that it approaches the tragic, when Dvorak's natural bent musically was cheerful. In a recent reisue the Guarneri Qt. delivers a big-boned interpretation with each instrument sounding like a soloist. The Artemis has a sweeter, more blended sound, yet in their way they are just as alert and dramatic (they are also recorded much better).

In Beethoven I often wish that tis ensemble would dig in more and emphasize smoothness of execution less. My wish comes true in this Dvorak performance, where they keep up the intensity from first to last. If you have learned to love the warm but relaxed style typical of Czech quartet playing, this more aggressive style may come as a shock, but only at first. Such excitement is hard to resist. Also impressive is their depth and resonance of tone in the Adagio. Dvorak wrote this quartet in 1895, the year he returned from America, but one hears a lingering American quality in this soulful movement, whose melody could easily be derived from spirituals. The Scherzo is in quasi-rondo form with two trios. Here the Artemis are perhaps too poised but still very enjoyable.
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