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Declarations - Music Between The Wars / Pacifica Quartet


Release Date: 09/26/2006 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 92   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Leos JanácekRuth Crawford SeegerPaul Hindemith
Performer:  Sibbi BernhardssohnSimin GanatraMasumi Per RostadBrandon Vamos
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The Pacifica String Quartet plays with such lovely tone that even the thornier bits of the atonal Seeger and the acerbic Hindemith works come across as elegant, even mellow. The truth is, both are full of beautiful and arresting music, and as these performances show, all it takes is a group willing to play them that way. This is particularly noticeable in the evocative Andante of Seeger's quartet--a brief work lasting barely 12 minutes in all, but one full of unusual textures and imaginative ideas. Similarly, the Hindemith never has sounded so warmly expressive. Its opening Fugato isn't just a neo-classical counterpoint exercise but a lyrical movement sculpted from long, flowing lines, while rude
Read more gestures in the second and fourth movements have plenty of guts but never for a moment turn gratuitously coarse.


This last observation holds particular relevance in considering Janácek's Second Quartet, a work of high drama and intense passion that some quartets make positively ugly. Indeed, you might at first find the Pacifica Quartet too smooth, but that impression turns out to be mistaken as the work proceeds. Consider, for example, the hysterical outburst midway through the third movement, with the violin screaming above a pulsating accompaniment. Not only does the passage erupt with all of the necessary violence and abruptness, but you can actually hear the individual components of the rhythmic underpinning below the wailing violin. Usually, the passage comes off as a blur. The Pacifica players also adopt an entirely appropriate and stylish use of portamento to give Janácek's melodic lines an extra touch of expressivity. Only the finale strikes me as a touch leisurely, though no less detailed or committed.


Like so many recent Cedille releases, the repertoire is so intelligently chosen (all three works are roughly contemporaneous, dating from 1922-31), so interestingly varied, and the engineering so impressively lifelike, that this disc adds up to considerably more than the sum of its highly enjoyable parts. This is a challenging release, but one that no admirer of top-notch quartet playing will want to miss. It provides an excellent opportunity to get to know music that many collectors might not otherwise rank high on their list of priorities, but that is well worth hearing nonetheless. In short, this is everything that an important new recording should be. [10/10/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 2 "Intimate letters" by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Sibbi Bernhardssohn (Violin), Simin Ganatra (Violin), Masumi Per Rostad (Viola),
Brandon Vamos (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Brno, Czech Republic 
Venue:  Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana 
Length: 26 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana (01/04/2006 - 01/05/2006) 
2.
Quartet for Strings by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Sibbi Bernhardssohn (Violin), Masumi Per Rostad (Viola), Brandon Vamos (Cello),
Simin Ganatra (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Venue:  Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana 
Length: 11 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana (09/02/2005 - 09/04/2005) 
3.
Quartet for Strings [no 4], Op. 22 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Sibbi Bernhardssohn (Violin), Masumi Per Rostad (Viola), Simin Ganatra (Violin),
Brandon Vamos (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; Germany 
Venue:  Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana 
Length: 26 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Foellinger Hall, Krannert Center, Urbana (09/02/2005 - 09/04/2005) 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 2, JW VII/13, "Listy duverne" (Intimate Letters): I. Andante
String Quartet No. 2, JW VII/13, "Listy duverne" (Intimate Letters): II. Adagio
String Quartet No. 2, JW VII/13, "Listy duverne" (Intimate Letters): III. Moderato
String Quartet No. 2, JW VII/13, "Listy duverne" (Intimate Letters): IV. Allegro
String Quartet, "1931": I. Rubato assai
String Quartet, "1931": II. Leggiero
String Quartet, "1931": III. Andante
String Quartet, "1931": IV. Allegro possibile
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22: I. Fugato: Sehr langsame Viertel
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22: II. Schnelle Achtel: Sehr energisch
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22: III. Ruhige Viertel: Stets fliessend
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22: IV. Massig schnelle Viertel
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 22: V. Rondo: Gemachlich und mit Grazie

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