This brilliantly conceived collection of Czech music for strings features stunning performances of all three works. The Dvorák Serenade sounds newly-minted in this bright, lively performance. Swift tempos, immaculate ensemble, and invigorating rhythms (especially in the second, third, and fifth movements) combine to deliver a performance about a thousand times more enjoyable than the usual "romantic" panting and heaving the work so often receives from larger ensembles. The tender Moderato opening and wistful Larghetto have all the more expressive depth when their simple eloquence and tunefulness isn't drowned in self-conscious heaviness.
Pavel Haas' Second StringRead more Quartet is one of a very few works that legitimately reveals the influence of his teacher Janácek. With a finale including a part for optional (really mandatory) drum set, there are better reasons than usual for hearing it in a string orchestra arrangement, and in either form it's a masterpiece that deserves to become a repertory standard. You won't hear it better played than here, whether in the haunting landscapes of the first and third ("The Moon and I") movements, or the wild finale with those surprising percussion interjections. Erwin Schulhoff, like his colleague Haas a victim of the Holocaust, was an exceptionally gifted composer whose Five Pieces parody five different dance styles, including a waltz, a tango, and a closing tarantella marked "prestissimo con fuoco". That finale, in particular, is amazing in its precision and drive.
As seems to be par for the course, no one makes better sounding SACD productions than Channel Classics. The sound is breathtakingly realistic in all formats, with perfect balances and a clarity to the treble and presence in the bass that has to be heard to be believed. I can't recommend this incredibly gorgeous CD highly enough.
innovative programmingMarch 1, 2013By Frank Lieberman (pittsburgh, PA)See All My Reviews"this is an excellent collection of collated pieces with a common theme of Czechoslavakian composers, which features works by composers suppressed during the Third Reich. These performances place the lesser known composers in the cultural and historical context."Report Abuse
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