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Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence; Arensky: Quartet / Raphael Ensemble

Tchaikovsky / Arensky
Release Date: 06/11/2013 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55426  
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyAnton Arensky
Performer:  Anthony MarwoodAndrea HessKrysia OsostowiczMichael Stirling,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Raphael Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Tchaikovsky's Sextet in D Minor, more commonly known as Souvenir de Florence, is one of the composer's most impressive chamber works. Tchaikovsky's abundant melodic gifts permeate every movement of the work, and his development of ideas has rarely seemed more natural and more inventive. There have been a number of fine performances by both string sextets and string orchestras, but as this new recording by the Raphael Ensemble clearly shows, there are many advantages to a performance by six exceptional soloists. The sometimes dense interplay between the parts and the intricate accompaniment patterns are played here with a beautiful precision, and the recording complements the skill of the performers with sound that is both warm and Read more flatteringly transparent.

The Arensky quartet is a lovely piece. The three-movement work is for the unusual combination of violin, viola, and two cellos and was dedicated to the memory of Tchaikovsky. Thus it makes a fitting companion to the older composer's sextet. The second movement is better known as the Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky for string orchestra, but the surrounding movements are in some ways more interesting. The first movement opens with a Russian hymn, a moving lament that reappears throughout the work. The finale is based on a Russian melody made famous by both Beethoven and Mussorgsky. The final pages of the quartet are triumphant and, as played by the Raphael Ensemble, hair-raising. As with the Tchaikovsky sextet, the performance and sound are superb. These same two works are paired in a recording by the Arensky Ensemble on Meridian which includes two movements of an incomplete sextet by Borodin. I have not heard it. But while the extra work may make this competitor attractive, I cannot imagine better performances of either the Tchaikovsky or the Arensky than those offered by the Raphael Ensemble.

-- Richard Burke, Fanfare
Reviewing original Hyperion release Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sextet for Strings in D major, Op. 70 "Souvenir de Florence" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Anthony Marwood (Violin), Andrea Hess (Cello), Krysia Osostowicz (Violin),
Michael Stirling (Cello), Timothy Boulton (Viola), James Boyd (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Raphael Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890/1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/23/1993 
Venue:  Live  St. George's Brandon Hill, Bristol 
Length: 34 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in A minor, Op. 35 by Anton Arensky
Performer:  Anthony Marwood (Violin), Michael Stirling (Cello), Andrea Hess (Cello),
James Boyd (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Raphael Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  St. George's Brandon Hill, Bristol 
Length: 26 Minutes 27 Secs. 

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