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Smetana: String Quartets / Apollon Quartet

Release Date: 10/25/2005 
Label:  Cube Bohemia   Catalog #: 2215   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Radek KrizanovskyPavel KudelásekPavel CiprysPavel Verner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollon String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SMETANA String Quartets: No. 1 , “From My Life”; No. 2 Apollon Qrt CUBE BOHEMIA BCD 2215 (43:13)

What a challenge to be a merely excellent string quartet in the city—Prague—where many of the world’s finest foursomes reside, play, and record! These 2002 performances reveal some of that strain: Is the Apollon Quartet (Pavel Kudelásek, Radek K?ižanovský, Pavel Ciprys, Pavel Verner—spot the odd man out) giving an unusual interpretation just Read more to be different? Let’s give it more credit than that and say that it is realizing a Smetana that best fits its strengths. Strength is the appropriate term: They play with plenty of guts, accuracy, fine intonation, and are obviously of one mind about this music. What they lack is suavity, grace, and a wide palette. Smetana was a strong composer, and his music often fits those descriptions, but we have become accustomed to performances of these works that have beauty and color as well, especially in “From My Life.”

Rather dry, harsh recorded sound doesn’t help; we are not told in which Prague venue the recording was made. Music lovers are of two kinds (as is everything else): Either you have one favorite version of a work, or you want to hear as many different approaches as you can. For the latter set of listeners, this recording can be recommended—strongly.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor, T 116 "From my life" by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Radek Krizanovsky (Violin), Pavel Kudelásek (Violin), Pavel Ciprys (Viola),
Pavel Verner (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollon String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Czech Republic 
Quartet for Strings no 2 in D minor, T 131 by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Pavel Ciprys (Viola), Pavel Verner (Cello), Radek Krizanovsky (Violin),
Pavel Kudelásek (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollon String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1883; Czech Republic 

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