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String Quartets / Lyric Scenes for String Quartet

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Oehms Classics
  • ASIN: B003D8OA2K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,429 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The Apollon Musagète Quartet is a group formed in 2006 by four Polish string players -- Pawel Zalejski & Barosz Zachlod, violins; Piotr Szumiel, viola; and Piotr Skweres, cello -- who live in Vienna and are mentored by the Alban Berg Quartet. They have won several competitions including the prestigious ARD International Music Competition whose previous winners have included the Tokyo, Ebène, Mandelring, Eder, Artemis, Chester and Auryn Quartets. This is their first CD and includes two quartets from the standard repertoire -- the Haydn Quartet in D Major, Op. 71, No. 2 (Hob.III:70) and the Brahms Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2 -- as well as two newer works. One is by their fellow Pole, Karel Szymanowski: his String Quartet No. 1 in C Major, Op. 37. And one is a piece written by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin especially for the ARD competition and for which its performance by the Apollon Musagète won the special prize.

One can measure this quartet's goods best, of course, in their performances of the two standard quartets. It is clear that they have rethought every note of these works. Their approach in the Haydn leans towards a very prominent first violin which is, after all, arguably appropriate in some classical-era quartets and is, I suppose, true for this quartet. But I might have preferred a more blended sound. One can, however, only applaud the work of three lower strings in maintaining their supportive stance. This group's pianissimi can bring gasps of appreciation, as in the Haydn's Adagio movement. The AMQ bring out the rusticity of the Haydn's minuet. In the Brahms there is a bit more rough and tumble than is often heard in this quartet, but it is entirely appropriate.
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