Notes and Editorial Reviews
for String Quartet; for Voice and Piano.
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
, 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
(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
. The short work is fairly well done by the English players, who don’t match the best of the rest in the
. 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
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
Works on This Recording
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