Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a great disc. Prokofiev was as unlikely a composer as we might possibly imagine to write successful chamber music for strings. Even his orchestral music, colorful though it is, betrays its origins in his own instrument, the piano, and his general avoidance of counterpoint hardly bodes well for quartet composition (and I don't mean just formal counterpoint, such as fugues). And yet both quartets here, as well as the remarkable Sonata for Two Violins, turn out to be remarkably accomplished and characteristic. The First quartet's driving opening allegro and soulful concluding slow movement is very satisfying both formally and emotionally, and it has never been better played.
The Pavel Haas Quartet, in the best Czech tradition, has the ability to play with a maximum of rhythmic energy without a shred of timbral crudity. This pays huge dividends not just in the First quartet, but particularly in the Second, which is a "socialist realist" essay (but a very charming one) on Kabardinian themes. The Pavel Haas Quartet's two violinists take a star turn of their own in the rarely-heard Sonata for Two Violins, unlike the quartets a four-movement piece in slow-fast-slow-fast form. Its longest part, the concluding Allegro con brio, has an astonishingly full sonority in this performance. Ideally warm, clear, well-balanced engineering flatters the performances, making this disc an essential addition to any Prokofiev collection.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Featured Sound Samples
String Quartet no 1: III. Andante
String Quartet no 2: I. Allegro sostenuto
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