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Bartok: The String Quartets / Tokyo Quartet


Release Date: 09/08/1997 
Label:  Dg 20th Century Classics Catalog #: 445241   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Béla BartókLeos Janácek
Performer:  Kazuhide IsomuraKikuei IkedaSadao HaradaKoichiro Harada
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The outstanding success of this recording, in a field where there is no shortage of impressive competition, lies in its combination of sustained technical excellence and consistently imaginative interpretation, realized through a notably truthful and sensitive recorded sound. The prime virtue of the set as a whole is its finely-balanced flow of events, with a flexibility that hardly ever seems self-conscious or artificial. In the First Quartet, concentration and spontaniety are in ideal balance, and the performance of No. 2, shunning the easy paths of understatement in the outer movements, has a richly homogenous and live texture. In No. 3 the players make appropriately strong contrasts between the prevailing drama and the occasional lyric Read more episodes; in Nos. 4 and 5 they always offer buoyancy rather than mere strenuousness, and in the first movement of No, 5, in particular, there is an epic quality which shows the music in a new, and newly impressive light. As for the last quartet, the generally intense but never over-driven approach gives weight to the emotional immediacy of the music while vividly catching the varied shades of bitter humour which accompany it. These performances do justice to some of the greatest music of the twentieth century. But the set offers enjoyment as well as instruction, and it is this unmistakable blend of vitality and sensitivity which is, ultimately, its most memorable achievement.

-- Gramophone [1981 Gramophone Awards]
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 1 in A minor, Op. 7/Sz 40 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; Budapest, Hungary 
2. Quartet for Strings no 2 in A minor, Op. 17 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1917; Budapest, Hungary 
3. Quartet for Strings no 3, Sz 85 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Budapest, Hungary 
4. Quartet for Strings no 4, Sz 91 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
5. Quartet for Strings no 5, Sz 102 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Budapest, Hungary 
6. Quartet for Strings no 6, Sz 114 by Béla Bartók
Performer:  Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello),
Koichiro Harada (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Budapest, Hungary 

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