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Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets / Kontra Quartet

Holmboe / Kontra Quartet
Release Date: 07/27/2010 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 8207001   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 7 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Vagn Holmboe was a natural quartet composer. This set contains all 20 of his numbered works in the genre, plus two other pieces. Holmboe's original source of inspiration for these pieces was Bartók--you can hear this clearly in the Third quartet, with its five-movement "arch" form (slow-fast-moderate-fast-slow)--but he quickly moved beyond more obviously symmetrical structures as he developed the metamorphosis technique of his later style. In general, the harmonic idiom is tonal, though often widely expanded, with rugged rhythms in quick movements characteristic of Holmboe's fundamentally neoclassical outlook. The late works, not surprisingly, become more complex but also more personal and concentrated. None of them lasts Read more longer than about 25 minutes.

All of these performances were previously released by Dacapo on seven individual discs, and having them all together in a box is certainly convenient. The performances are uniformly excellent. The Kontra Quartet fully enters into the spirit of the music, offering vibrant rhythms and fine ensemble balances. The timbre of this group always has been a touch edgy compared to, say, the best Czech quartets (my personal touchstone), but it suits the music's pungency, and the players relax nicely into Holmboe's many moments of lyricism and tranquility. The engineering throughout is bold and clear. This important set belongs in the collection of anyone who cares about good 20th-century chamber music.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 1, Op. 46 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Humlebaek 
Length: 27 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 48 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Humlebaek 
Length: 23 Minutes 34 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 4, Op. 63 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Humlebaek 
Length: 23 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 47 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; Denmark 
Venue:  Frimurerlogen 
Length: 7 Minutes 10 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 5, Op. 66 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 09/17/1995 
Venue:  Focus Recording 
Length: 9 Minutes 20 Secs. 
6.
Quartet for Strings no 6, Op. 78 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Denmark 
Venue:  Frimurerlogen 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
7.
Quartet for Strings no 7, Op. 86 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 6 Minutes 39 Secs. 
8.
Quartet for Strings no 8, Op. 87 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
9.
Quartet for Strings no 9, Op. 92 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 10, Op. 102 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 14 Minutes 18 Secs. 
11.
Quartet for Strings no 11, Op. 111 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
12.
Quartet for Strings no 12, Op. 116 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
13.
Quartet for Strings no 13, Op. 124 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 
14.
Quartet for Strings no 14, Op. 125 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
15.
Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 135 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977-1978; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
16.
Quartet for Strings no 17, Op. 152 "Mattinata" by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
17.
Quartet for Strings no 19, Op. 156 "Serrata" by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
18.
Quartet for Strings no 20, Op. 160 "Notturno" by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
19.
Quartet for Strings no 16, Op. 146 by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
20.
Quartet for Strings no 18, Op. 153 "Giornata" by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
21.
Sværm, for string quartet, Op. 190b by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: Modern 
Written: 1992 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
22.
Quartet for Strings no 21, Op. 197 "Quartetto sereno" by Vagn Holmboe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kontra String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Denmark 
Venue:  Danish Radio Studio 2 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1, Op. 46: I. Affettuoso - Animato
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 46: II. Adagio - Andante - Presto - Andante - Adagio
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 46: III. Introduzione: Lento un poco - Molto vivace
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 49: I. Lento
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 49: II. Allegro assai e leggiero
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 49: III. Andante quasi giacona
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 49: IV. Allegro decido
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 49: V. Lento
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 63: I. Andante passionato
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 63: II. Presto espansivo
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 63: III. Adagio affettuosa
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 63: IV. Largo e semplice
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 63: V. Allegretto sereno
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 47: I. Allegro fluente
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 47: II. Andante con moto e affettuoso
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 47: III. Presto
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 47: IV. Un poco adagio
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 47: V. Allegro molto e leggiero
String Quartet No. 5, Op. 66: I. Pesante - Fluente
String Quartet No. 5, Op. 66: II. Adagio
String Quartet No. 5, Op. 66: III. Energico
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 78: I. Lento - Allegro con fuoco - Lento - Allegro con fuoco - Lento
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 78: II. Molto vivace
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 78: III. Adagio e piano
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 78: IV. Allegro spiritoso

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