Juxtaposing song and quartet cycles illuminates Dvorák’s lovely pieces.
The charming sequence of 12 pieces for string quartet that Dvorák called Cypresses has been recorded fairly often, but the set of 18 folk-like songs on which they are based has been neglected. So this disc setting the two cycles side by side makes an illuminating, generous coupling. Dvorák’s first essays in song-writing were inspired by his unrequited love for the elder of two sisters (he later married the younger one), and were not published in his lifetime. The cycle had to wait until 1983 for a first complete public performance.
In their reflection of youthful love they provide a touching portrait of the youngRead more composer. Predictably, the quartet versions are subtler. The vocal line is generally transferred to violin or viola, with masterly transcription of the piano accompaniments, disguising their origin. A number were radically expanded – the first, for example (No 6 in the song sequence), is three times as long as its source.
The recording sets Timothy Robinson at a slight distance and there is an occasional roughness to the top of his range. Still he responds with warmth, and in idiomatic Czech, aided by responsive accompaniment from Johnson. In the instrumental versions the Delmés phrase expressively within relatively broad speeds whereas the Chilingirians find more of the folk element with brighter tone and more flowing speeds.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [2/2005] Read less
Works on This Recording
Cypresses for Voice and Piano, B 11by Antonín Dvorák Performer:
Timothy Robinson (Tenor),
Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1865; Bohemia Date of Recording: 01/14/2004 Venue: Champs Hill, West Sussex, England Language: Czech
Cypresses for String Quartet, B 152by Antonín Dvorák Performer:
John Underwood (Viola),
Jonathan Williams (Cello),
John Trusler (Violin),
Galina Solodchin (Violin)
Delmé String Quartet
Period: Romantic Written: 1887; Bohemia Date of Recording: 10/03/2002 Venue: Pro Corda Music School, Leiston Abbey, S
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
buy it for the vocalsJune 1, 2013By David Landau (San Francisco, CA)See All My Reviews"The performance of the song-cycle will be something of an exhilaration to those who have only heard the quartet version. Johnson and Robinson phrase endearingly, and capture the ardent energy of these songs. I find Timothy Robinson's tenor especially attractive; and it lies beautifully on these melodies, for which we owe the performer a big vote of thanks. The quartet performances, I'm afraid, go in another direction, away from the dance and far toward the lugubrious. This music does not call for somber treatment! But, emphatically, buy the disc for the vocals, the like of which you probably will not find elsewhere; and if you want to follow up the vocals with an instrumental version, reach for another recording. The Vlach are lovely. The Lindsays might be a little too full of beans, but that would be a bane after the Delme. I think I'll listen to the Lindsays right now."Report Abuse