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In The South / Brodsky Quartet


Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10761   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hugo WolfGiacomo PucciniGiuseppe VerdiJoaquin Turina,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IN THE SOUTH Brodsky Str Qt CHANDOS 10761 (66: 02)


WOLF Italienische Serenade. PUCCINI Crisantemi. VERDI Quartetto. TURINA La oración del torero, Op. 34. PIAZZOLLA Four, for Tango. Read more class="COMPOSER12"> PAGANNINI Caprices 6 and 24 (arr. Paul Cassidy)


Themed programs, and their often-resulting albums, are all the rage these days, and the Brodsky Quartet, Daniel Rowland and Ivor Belton, violins; Paul Cassidy, viola; and Jacqueline Thomas, cello; has been about that business almost since its organization in 1972. Having played everything from Beethoven to Björk, this may be the original “crossover” ensemble. And after 40 years, it has only changed two members (Rowland and Cassidy)! This is not a crossover program, but one made up of those shorter pieces that often get left out of the schedule.


Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade (1887) is more often heard today in Wolf’s 1892 arrangement for string orchestra, but it was originally for string quartet, as here, and I think Wolf’s original instinct was correct. The quartet version, especially as performed here, has a fleeting lightness to it that a larger body of strings cannot always bring off.


I may be the only person who cannot hear the opening of Puccini’s string quartet, Crisantemi (1890), without thinking of Paul McCartney’s hit Yesterday , which probably says a lot about my own yesterday. It is the only work for string quartet by Puccini that has stayed in the repertory, but its brevity, like that of Wolf’s serenade, has made it more of a filler on a program than a main event.


Verdi’s Quartetto (1873) on the other hand, his only work in this medium, is a substantial piece, if not much programmed, though there are over 25 different recordings of it available. It has always struck me as un-Verdian, if we mean by that his gift of long and expressive melodies. Here, he seems to be thinking differently about what instruments do. Indeed, the last movement scherzo and fugue seems far from the opera house. Verdi claimed he thought little of the piece, but the work itself suggests otherwise.


Like Wolf’s serenade, Joaquín Turina’s La oración del torero (1925) also has another life as an orchestral piece. This is a smoky, impressionistic piece in which Turina imagines the prayer of a toreador just before he steps into the arena. Astor Piazzolla’s short piece Four, for Tango (1988), was written for the Kronos Quartet and sounds like much Piazzolla, spiky Latin rhythms and up-to-date playing techniques. The notes tell us about Nicolò Paganini’s caprices for solo violin, but nothing about violist Paul Cassidy’s arrangement of two of them for string quartet. The sixth shimmers, almost chorale-like, and makes a calm contrast to the energetic Piazzolla tango preceding it on the disc, and keeps us in suspense for the slowly expanding fires of the famous 24th. These are generally conservative arrangements, quite respectful of the harmonic implications of the original line.


These are good performances, especially of the Verdi quartet which anchors the disc. The Turina prayer is a good surprise and the Piazzolla piece is great fun.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Serenade for String Quartet in G major "Italian Serenade" by Hugo Wolf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
2.
Crisantemi "Elegy" by Giacomo Puccini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1890; Italy 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 7 Minutes 22 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings in E minor by Giuseppe Verdi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Italy 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 23 Minutes 4 Secs. 
4.
La oración del torero, Op. 34 by Joaquin Turina
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Spain 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 8 Minutes 41 Secs. 
5.
Four, for Tango by Astor Piazzolla
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; Argentina 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 6 in G minor by Niccolò Paganini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
7.
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Serenade in G major, "Italienische Serenade" (Italian Serenade)
Crisantemi
String Quartet in E minor: I. Allegro
String Quartet in E minor: II. Andantino
String Quartet in E minor: III. Prestissimo
String Quartet in E minor: IV. Scherzo fuga: Allegro assai mosso
La oracion del torero, Op. 34 (version for string quartet)
Four, for Tango
24 Caprices, Op. 1 (arr. P. Cassidy for string quartet): No. 6 in G minor: Lento
24 Caprices, Op. 1 (arr. P. Cassidy for string quartet): No. 24 in A minor: Tema quasi presto - 11 Variations - Finale

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