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Stanford: Quartets Nos. 3, 4 & 7 / Dante Quartet

Release Date: 09/21/2018 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 185  
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The second volume in Somm Recordings’ complete survey of Charles Villiers Stanford’s eight String Quartets sees the Dante Quartet return with first recordings of the Third, Fourth and Seventh Quartets. Stanford came late to the string quartet form, composing his first two in 1891. His Third Quartet followed five years later. Dedicated to “my friends the Joachim Quartet,” it moves from stern agitation and lyrical poise to introspective intensity before ending with a ferocious, dance-like finale. As Stanford authority Jeremy Dibble notes: “The idiom of the string quartet was always a serious intellectual challenge for Stanford and this example is no exception in its demonstration of structural subtlety, thematic imagination and brilliant Read more ensemble writing.” Completed a decade later, the Fourth Quartet is a work of fierce technical challenges – “brimfull with invention” as Dibble pithily observes – its playful Scherzo a dazzling example of Stanford’s love of continuing variation, the melancholic slow movement and virtuoso finale drawing deep from the Dublin-born composer’s richly emotional Irish heritage. The Seventh Quartet is one of Stanford’s most varied and vital exercises in the form. Viola and cello are pitched against each other in the stern, contrapuntal dialogue of its first movement with a tour de force Scherzo at its heart and a finale that dances delightfully in irregular phrase lengths to end in an energetic flourish. Issued in late 2016, Volume One in the series was admired as “an excellent album in every respect” (MusicWeb International), applauded as “most enterprising and thoroughly likeable” (Classical Ear) and acclaimed “a really worthwhile release” (Gramophone). Read less

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Well-crafted quartets November 8, 2018 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "This new release continues the Dante Quartet's cycle of Charles Villiers Stanford string quartets. It features one published and two unpublished quartets. The String Quartet No. 3 in D minor was written in 1896, five full years after the first two quartets. Stanford wrote it for his friend, violinist Joseph Joachim, and his quartet. I've often characterized Stanford's music as Brahms with an Irish lilt. That very much applies in this case. The quartet follows the classical pure music model laid out by Brahms in his own quartet. The music challenges the performers technically. But the music is well-crafted. Each motif is fully developed, logically expanding outward to create an inviting soundscape. This is a work that can yield additional insights with each hearing. String Quartet No. 4 in G minor (1907) was also composed for a specific ensemble -- the Kruse Quartet. Johann Kruse was a student of Joachim and was extraordinarily agile across the range of the violin. The quartet exploits that talent, which makes it quite demanding for most violinists. Structurally, the work seems less complex than the third quartet. To my ears, it seemed more akin to Middle Period Beethoven than Brahms. String Quartet No. 7 in C minor is a late work, written for a student ensemble. The technical demands are lighter, and the work seems to have a thinner texture than the other two quartets. Nevertheless, Stanford thoroughly works through his material, creating work with plenty of melodic and harmonic inventiveness. I was a little disappointed by the performance of the Dante Quartet. There seemed to be some minor pitch problems, particularly in the opening movement of Quartet No. 3. And sometimes the ensemble's blend seemed a little wobbly to me. Nevertheless, their interpretations were thoughtful and insightful, which served the music very well. They've now recorded five of Stanford's eight quartets. In spite of my quibbles, I'm very much looking forward to the next installment in this series" Report Abuse
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