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Toch: String Quartets No 8 And 9 / Verdi Quartett

Release Date: 04/16/2002 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 999686   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernst Toch
Performer:  Peter SteinSusanne RabenschlagDidier PoskinKarin Wolf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ernst Toch's String Quartet No. 8 (1909), with its five unconventionally arranged movements, adopts the free style of Beethoven's late quartets. The first sound you hear is that of an extended violin solo that leads to a richly chromatic, rhapsodic elegy by the full quartet. The remaining movements adhere more to 19th century conventions, with a waltz, andante, and scherzo forming the centerpieces, while the expressive and expansive finale (nearly twice as long as any of the other movements) constitutes the main body of the work. Beginning in terse dotted rhythms, it turns quite lyrical for the second subject, making for a powerful dramatic contrast, and in turn generating much cumulative energy for
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Quartet No. 9 (1920) is one of the first works Toch composed after his self-imposed silence during the World War I years. Here we find the composer skirting the edges of tonality, and indeed this was the last quartet in which Toch designated a key in the title. Still, there are instances of Toch reaching back to the past, as in the scherzo's surprisingly Beethovenian canonic trio. However, it's in the ecstatic adagio where Toch pushes chromaticism to the breaking point as he discovers a new expressive vehicle for his rapt outpourings. The martial finale summons the world of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 (the symphony's ending comes vividly to mind) as Toch frees himself from his tonal moorings for a brief foray into keyless waters (though he doesn't venture so far from shore that he cannot find his way back).

The Verdi Quartet clearly has made this exceptional music a labor of love, and its technically assured, fully involving, and wholly persuasive performances engender an appreciation for Toch's music while making you look forward to the next release in the cycle. CPO's recording places the ensemble in a large acoustic, allowing for a satisfying sense of space combined with a realistic dynamic range.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 8 in D flat major, Op. 18 by Ernst Toch
Performer:  Peter Stein (Violin), Susanne Rabenschlag (Violin), Didier Poskin (Cello),
Karin Wolf (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1999 
Venue:  Evangelical Church, Cologne-Rondorf 
Length: 36 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 26 by Ernst Toch
Performer:  Karin Wolf (Viola), Peter Stein (Violin), Susanne Rabenschlag (Violin),
Didier Poskin (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919 
Date of Recording: 12/1998 
Venue:  Evangelical Church, Cologne-Rondorf 
Length: 27 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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