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Dvorak: Cypresses String Quartet, Terzetto / English String Quartet, Langridge, Kvapil

Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Musical Concepts   Catalog #: 1038   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Philip LangridgeRadoslav Kvapil
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DVO?ÁK Cypresses: for String Quartet; for Voice and Piano. Terzetto English Str Qrt; Philip Langridge (ten); Radoslav Kvapil (pn) ALTO 1038 (77:12)

This is yet another bargain rescue mission by Alto: clear-sounding 1990s recordings, a useful coupling, and good singing from Langridge. For the money, there is no competition.

For a preferable performance of just the quartet version of Read more style="font-style:italic">Cypresses , you need to look for ancient Czech recordings; go to the Vlachs on Naxos, or get the far more expensive Lindsays. I’ve not heard the Somm version, also coupled with the revised voice and piano versions of Cypresses (all 18 of them; the current disc has just the 12 that were transcribed for strings). That disc is also more expensive, and it does not give you the Terzetto . The short work is fairly well done by the English players, who don’t match the best of the rest in the Cypresses . They go for the earthy approach, inspired by the songs. It comes off some of the time; at other times it can be wearing.

So this fills a gap. If you are a student of the composer, you’ll want to have access to this material. It’s interesting to hear how the passions and ardour of youth became early songs, and then the more elaborate chamber works, based on the same material and the same passion (for his later sister in law). The history of Cypresses is complex, and a full recording of all differing versions has yet to appear.

Hand on heart, I’m glad to have heard them, but I could live without owning these songs. If you feel the same, then follow the routes outlined above. If not, then snap up the disc while it’s there. For me, there’s more interest here than pleasure, but if only for Langridge, this is worth the modest entry fee.

FANFARE: Paul Ingram
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Works on This Recording

Cypresses for Voice and Piano, B 11 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Philip Langridge (Tenor), Radoslav Kvapil (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Bohemia 
Cypresses for String Quartet, B 152 by Antonín Dvorák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Bohemia 
Terzetto for 2 Violins and Viola in C major, Op. 74/B 148 by Antonín Dvorák
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Bohemia 

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