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Dvorak: Piano Quintet, Op. 81/ String Quartet No. 10, Op. 51

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 1999
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Product Details

  • Performer: Takacs Quartet, Andreas Haefliger
  • Composer: A. Dvorak
  • Audio CD (September 14, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00001IVQR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,284 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
No mixed feelings at all about this warmly autumnal performance; there is a genuine glow to the Haefliger/Takacs presence, an introspective aura that separates it from the crowd. There is sweetness, too, and an affecting lyricism, particularly appealing in the tender treatment of the often-hectic opening movement, but even more so in the heartfelt second. Unlike any other recording I've heard, the Slavic melancholy imbued in this work is unashamedly brought to the fore by this ensemble, and I applaud them for their insight. Even the sparkling third movement earns kudos with its magical trio section; and, too, the finale is brought off with just the right amount of panache and grace, sans the usual barnstorming.

The coupling of the magnificent String Quartet No. 10, Op. 51 couldn't be more perfect. Again, the same intimacy of playing prevails, the same glow. The sense of gentle give and take between the members of the Takacs Quartet is a joy. What a breathtaking and deeply devoted view they take of this quartet, with its exceptionally wonderful slow movement. I've not heard a more revealing rendition of this work.

The sound, although slightly ambient, suits and does not cloud the clarity or expression of this most moving and impressive recital.

[Running time: 71:27]
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Format: Audio CD
There are three piano quintets recognized as masterpieces of the form: Brahms' Op. 34, Schumann's Op. 44 and Dvorak's Op. 81 here. Dvorak composed this work as part of his devotion to the Bohemian folk idiom and, along with the "Dumky" Trio and E-flat Piano Quartet, epitomize the national Czech music tradition. Similarly, the String Quartet Op. 51 was composed purposely with to showcase Slavic flavors and is rich in beauty and charm.

Everything seems to have come together in this reading to produce a great recording for the ages. Andreas Haefliger's joins the quartet with some sparking pianism that propells the fast movements with inspired verve and dazzling running semiquavers - all captured in brilliant clarity. Equally attractive is the poinant and serene second movement which is performed with a beautiful depth of passion and breathtaking emotive tonalities from the legendary Takacs Quartet. Overall, their temperament and approach here are ideal for Dvorak - appealing to his brilliant lyricism and love of the music of his homeland. The recording ambiance is bright, bold and perfectly balanced between instruments with just the right amount of spaciousness. In short, the Dvorak compositions on this CD are truly monumental, the playing of the highest caliber and the end result very attractive. Hopefully, we will see more recordings of Dvorak's chamber works from the Takacs Quartet (whose award-winning Beethoven Quartet cycle is also superb).

Living in Boulder (where the Takacs Quartet is in residence at Colorado University), I have had the priviledge to hear this superb quartet play in person. I thought they sounded great on disc, but to hear this ensemble in person is extraordinary.
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By A Customer on April 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Dont miss this one!
Its one of the best played piano and string quartet from Dvorak out there.
About this string quartet... well those of you familliar with Deccas Bartok 6 string quartets understand the extremly high quality of these guys and if you dont... trust me on this or read all reviwes about Bartoks 6 string quartets on Decca with Takacs string quartet.
Haefliger is marvelous on piano here and do justice to Dvoraks lovely pieces.
Its a very moving set and well worth its price.
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Format: Audio CD
I have no bone to pick with the other reviewers who faint with delight over this new recording of the great Dvorak Piano Quintet. But in all fairness someone should describe the interpretation a bit objectively. The dominant force here is the Takacs Qt, with Haefliger decidedly in the background. If like me you think the piano should be the leading voice, as it is to magnificent effect in Sviatoslav Richter's recording with the Borodin Qt. (Phiilips), Haefliger will seem soft-grained and overly suave.

But he falls into the spirit of this account, which is tender, sweet, and swoony. There's no doubt that we are hearing a deluxe, silky performance, but to my mind Dvorak's idiom is already somewhat sugary in this work, and the more starch and rigor one adds, the better. Tempos are middle of the road, execution is crisp and often sparkling, and Decca's sound is up-to-date, although I hear a little vinegar in the upper strings.

Dvorak had the misfortune to write one string quartet, the "American," whose popularity has overshadowed all the others. The Quartet #10 precedes the really great ones from Dvoraka's pen, but the Takacs step up and give it their all. This is a robust, committed reading that ranks among the best I've ever heard. It deserves five stars.
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