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Czech Composers / Yvonne Smeulders, Sander Sittig


Release Date: 02/28/2012 
Label:  Quintone   Catalog #: 7001/2  
Composer:  Bedrich SmetanaZdenék FibichAntonín DvorákOttokar Novácek,   ... 
Performer:  Yvonne SmeulersSander Sittig
Number of Discs: 2 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Smeulers is persuasive, lyrical and thoughtful throughout.

Dutch label Quintone originally released this attractively packaged set in 2007. At a total running time of 108 minutes, this is more a disc-and-a-half than a true double, but the retail price is still fairly hefty. On the other hand, the high standard of the music-making by Dutch violinist Yvonne Smeulers and her long-time pianist Sander Sittig constitutes considerable compensation. Add to that the broad appeal of the fairly easy-going music that has been selected for their extended recital, and the question of the price/timing ratio recedes somewhat.
 
The programme provides a varied, entertaining mix of the short and long, light and
Read more dark, popular and relatively neglected. Anyone drawn initially by the more mellifluously mainstream items on CD 1 is likely to be pleasantly surprised by the works on CD 2, which, though more 'hardcore', with heavier, important works by Janá?ek and Suk, still provides an hour's worth of melodious tonal music, not least the revealing items by Schulhoff and Martin?.
 
The album title is a trifle misleading: the "135" refers to the number of years between the birth of the first and the death of the last featured composer. In fact, all wrote at least some music that is more or less Romantic in sound. Janá?ek could have known, and quite likely did know, all of them as professional musicians. It may also be pointed out here that there is no special requirement to love Czech music - only Smetana and, intermittently, Janá?ek are really in nationalist or folkloric mode here.
 
Sander Sittig looks rather stern in his booklet photo, but his playing reveals a good deal of lightness and warmth. In fairness, though, he does have less to do than Smeulers. Her 1785 Guadagnini violin has an agreeable middle tone. Lyrical and thoughtful, Smeulers is persuasive throughout, and especially impressive in Schulhoff's scintillating Solo Sonata, the first movement of which feels surprisingly like a hoe-down!
 
Sound quality is very good. The product barely advertises its SACD status - the only pointers are the distinctive symbol and tiny print on the disc itself. It does not specify at all that it is a 'Hybrid' - this time the golden sheen of the playing surface provides the clue. Unusually, there is no straight stereo for the SACD layer, only multichannel. The standard CD layer does play in stereo.

The Westvest 90 church at Schiedam may have a strange name, but its ambience is airy and, somehow, almost reverberation-free.
 
The CD case is a foldout "digipak triptych". The glossy booklet slides in behind the front cover. Unfortunately the only track listing is on the back cover of the digipak, which means the listener must keep that to hand for reference. The Dutch-English-French-German notes, however, are fairly informative and well translated.

-- Byzantion, MusicWeb International  
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Works on This Recording

1.
Má vlast: no 2, Moldau, T 111 - Excerpt(s) by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Czech Republic 
2.
Počme for Violin by Zdenék Fibich
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
3.
Romantic Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 75/B 150 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Bohemia 
4.
Sonatina for Violin and Piano in G major, Op. 100/B 183 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; USA 
5.
Caprices (8) for Violin and Piano, Op. 5: no 2, Perpetuum mobile by Ottokar Novácek
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Czech Republic 
6.
Sonata for Violin and Piano by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1921; Brno, Czech Republic 
7.
Sonata for Violin solo by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927 
8.
Madrigal Stanzas (5) for Violin and Piano by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
9.
Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 17 by Josef Suk
Performer:  Yvonne Smeulers (Violin), Sander Sittig (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Prague, Czech Republ 

Sound Samples

Z domoviny (From the Homeland): No. 1 in A major: Moderato
Z domoviny (From the Homeland): No. 2. Andantino, "Bohemian Fantasie"
4 Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, B. 150: No. 1. Allegro moderato
4 Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, B. 150: No. 2. Allegro maestoso
4 Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, B. 150: No. 3. Allegro appassionato
4 Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, B. 150: No. 4. Larghetto
Violin Sonatina in G major, Op. 100, B. 183: I. Allegro risoluto
Violin Sonatina in G major, Op. 100, B. 183: II. Larghetto
Violin Sonatina in G major, Op. 100, B. 183: III. Scherzo: Molto vivace
Violin Sonatina in G major, Op. 100, B. 183: IV. Allegro
Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Op. 41 (arr. for violin and piano): Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Op. 41: No. 6. Poeme (arr. for violin and piano)
Perpetuum mobile (version for violin and piano)
Violin Sonata, JW VII/7: I. Con moto
Violin Sonata, JW VII/7: II. Ballada: Con moto
Violin Sonata, JW VII/7: III. Allegretto
Violin Sonata, JW VII/7: IV. Adagio
Violin Sonata: I. Allegro con fuoco
Violin Sonata: II. Andante cantabile
Violin Sonata: III. Scherzo: Allegretto grazioso
Violin Sonata: IV. Finale: Allegro risoluto
5 Madrigal Stanzas, H. 297: No. 1. Moderato
5 Madrigal Stanzas, H. 297: No. 2. Poco allegretto
5 Madrigal Stanzas, H. 297: No. 3. Andante moderato
5 Madrigal Stanzas, H. 297: No. 4. Scherzando, poco allegro
5 Madrigal Stanzas, H. 297: No. 5. Poco allegro
4 Pieces, Op. 17: No. 1. Quasi Ballata
4 Pieces, Op. 17: No. 2. Appassionato
4 Pieces, Op. 17: No. 3. Un poco triste
4 Pieces, Op. 17: No. 4. Burleska

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