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Stenhammar: String Quartets Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 / Oslo String Quartet

Stenhammar / Oslo String Quartet
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777426   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wilhelm Stenhammar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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SuperAudio CD:  $34.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"My work demands all my energies, and the rehearsal of Sten’s quartet has gripped me completely. We worked like madmen out of joy in it; I perhaps with more pain than on any other occasion, for I understand the core of this piece so desperately well that I dream about it at night." - Tor Aulin

It was the violinist, string quartet leader, and composer Tor Aulin who raved with such empathy while preparing his friend Wilhelm Stenhammar’s fourth string quartet for performance. Stenhammar unfortunately even today continues to number among the group of those composers whom one might term the »great unknowns«; nearly all the works compromising his rather compact oeuvre are of pronouncedly high quality. Unlike
Read more Grieg, Nielsen, and Sibelius, Stenhammar never attained the status of a musical icon in his native country – for political and social reasons Sweden evidently had no need of such an influential personality. On its wonderfully harmonious and homogeneous new Surround recording of Stenhammar’s Quartets Nos. 3-6 the Oslo String Quartet impressively demonstrates that he merits much greater representation in today’s concert world than is currently the case.
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 3 in F major, Op. 18 by Wilhelm Stenhammar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: Sweden 
Quartet for Strings no 4 in A minor, Op. 25 by Wilhelm Stenhammar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: Sweden 
Quartet for Strings no 5 in C major, Op. 29 "Serenade" by Wilhelm Stenhammar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Sweden 
Quartet for Strings no 6 in D minor, Op. 35 by Wilhelm Stenhammar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Sweden 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Forgotten Stenhammar October 10, 2014 By Lennart Eriksson (Pennington, KwaZulu Natal) See All My Reviews "I was delighted to discover that the Oslo Quartet have recorded Stenhammar. They did not disappoint. He is really a forgotten giant of a composer whose genius is beautifully interpreted by the Oslo Quartet. Lennart Eriksson South Africa" Report Abuse
 Terrific music in good performances February 18, 2013 By Mark N. (Oswego, IL) See All My Reviews "These are excellent string quartets, inventively written with good melodies and consonant tonalities throughout. Why they have not gotten more attention from ensembles and record companies in the past is a mystery to me. Back in the early 1990’s, Musica Sveciae released Stenhammar’s six published quartets on three RBCD’s performed by three different quartets: the Fresk, Copenhagen and Gotland. These were analog recordings made in the early 80’s and they formed my introduction to these fine pieces (they also garnered the Swedish Record Award). I fell in love with the music. Since then, there have been no other recordings until this one by the Oslo String Quartet which, frustratingly, does not include quartets 1 and 2. CPO, a wonderfully adventurous label that has been spotty in producing SACD’s, chose to release this in the hi-rez format and for that I am grateful. Listening through this set (the stereo SACD tracks) prompted me to go back to the Musica Sveciae RBCD’s to refresh my memory of its performances and sound. The Oslo Quartet performances for CPO are every bit as good as those earlier recordings and in some ways superior. The Oslo’s exhibit more dynamic contrast in their playing and they also linger a bit longer in some of the slower passages, bringing out more emotion. Hearing the Musica Sveciae recordings for the first time in a while shows their inherent weaknesses – despite being “AAD” recordings, the old RBCD 16/44 digititus seems more prevalent than usual making the violins sound a bit edgy compared to the more natural tonality on the CPO set. Most of the Musica Sveciae set were recorded in a church (like the CPO set) although they don’t allow the church resonance to overwhelm the direct sound as sometimes happens in the CPO set. I have two complaints to lodge about this CPO set. The first is sonic and concerns the decision to record in a church with a bloomy resonance that makes it difficult to find the right playback volume to achieve a natural perspective. The microphones are obviously close to the ensemble since breath intakes and exhalations are audible from the players yet the resonance makes it seem like we are sitting at a decent distance from the players. This creates a slightly jarring aural picture – both close in and far away at the same time – making it hard to find an appropriate playback volume. That issue aside, the rest of the recording is quite fine in that it captures the full frequency range of the instruments coupled with natural timbres and very good dynamics. The second complaint? Why oh why did they not include the first two quartets in this set? This would have been a world-beater had it been COMPLETE (they could have even added the unpublished f minor quartet that came between numbers 2 and 3 – as far as I know this has never been recorded). Perhaps the first two quartets will follow – I hope so. Recommended." Report Abuse
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