Quartetto Italiano

Biography

Active: 1945 - 1980 ; Siena, Italy
The Quartetto Italiano is regarded as one of the finest string quartets of the twentieth century. The group generally focused on quartet-only repertory, avoiding performance with guest artists of quintets and other larger compositions. The ensemble's repertory was broad and included the entire quartet outputs of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, and Webern, and selected works of Galuppi, Vivaldi, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Bartók, Shostakovich, Read more Villa-Lobos, Schoenberg, and many others.

Members of the Quartetto Italiano first met and performed as an ensemble in Siena, Italy, in 1942. But they did not officially bond until after the end of World War II, in summer 1945. The musicians, all still in their early twenties, adopted the name Nuovo Quartetto Italiano and debuted at Carpi, Italy, in November that year. (The Nuovo tag was dropped in 1951.) The personnel of the group were: Paolo Borciani (first violin), Elisa Pegreffi (second violin), Lionello Forzanti (viola), and Franco Rossi (cello).

1946 was a pivotal year for the group: it won competitions at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and at the Accademia Filarmonica Romana and made a successful recording debut with the Debussy Quartet. They began touring Europe in 1947, but now with a new violist, Piero Farulli.

By the early 1950s the Quartetto Italiano had achieved a measure of international celebrity, though its repertory had not expanded significantly beyond French and Italian music, and their tone and approach were thought to lack depth. In 1952 Borciani and Pegreffi married. Around this time the four players had begun to evolve a more complex style, said to have resulted largely from mentoring by conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler.

By the 1960s the ensemble had developed a world-class reputation. Between 1967 and 1975 they recorded all the Beethoven string quartets for Philips, regarded by many as the finest of available cycles of the 15 masterworks. Numerous other works were recorded as well during this period for the same label, including the Prokofiev Second Quartet, and the Ravel and Debussy (which they recorded three times).

With their many successful tours at home and abroad (11 of North America by 1980) and their spate of acclaimed recordings, the group had probably reached its zenith by the mid-'70s. In 1977 Farulli became ill and was temporarily replaced by Dino Asciolla. Misunderstandings following Farulli's recovery led to the ultimate breakup of the group in 1980. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 47 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Darius Milhaud - Une Vie Heureuse [10-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 634844 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Noel Lee,  Christian Ivaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Georges Prętre,  Georges Tzipine,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 2.
    Mozart: The String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001925802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Franco Rossi,  Piero Farulli,  Paolo Borciani,  Elisa Pegreffi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 3.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Quartets Opus 127 & 135 / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips Musica Da Camera   Catalog: 422840 Release Date: 05/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 5.
    Mozart: The String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416419 Release Date: 08/12/2010   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Franco Rossi,  Piero Farulli,  Paolo Borciani,  Elisa Pegreffi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 6.
    Schubert, Dvorak, Borodin: String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips Silverline Classics   Catalog: 420876 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Antonín Dvorák,  Alexander Borodin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 7.
    Mozart: Quartets no 16 & 17 / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips Musica Da Camera   Catalog: 422832 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Franco Rossi,  Piero Farulli,  Elisa Pegreffi,  Paolo Borciani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 8.
    Debussy: 3 Sonatas, String Quartet, Syrinx / Grumiaux, Gendron
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 442655 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Roger Bourdin,  Annie Challan,  Colette Lequien,  István Hajdu  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 9.
    Haydn, Beethoven: String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186189 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 10.
    Brahms Complete Edition [46-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001302602 Release Date: 07/14/2009   Number of Discs: 46
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Edith Mathis,  Karl Engel,  Gernot Kahl,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Jena,  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Böhm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Chorus,  LaSalle String Quartet,  Amadeus String Quartet  ... 
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  • 11.
    Beethoven: String Quartets Op 59 No 2 & 3 / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186176 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Paolo Borciani,  Piero Farulli,  Franco Rossi,  Elisa Pegreffi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 12.
    Beethoven: String Quartets No 6 & 7 / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186175 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Piero Farulli,  Elisa Pegreffi,  Franco Rossi,  Paolo Borciani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Late String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000994302 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Early String Quartets, Op 18 / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000943402 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Middle String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000950802 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 16.
    Webern: Complete String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420796 Release Date: 11/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Webern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 17.
    Complete Mozart Edition 7 - String Quartets, String Quintets
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000575502 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Georges Janzer,  Arthur Grumiaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 18.
    Schubert, Debussy, Milhaud: Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 278 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Claude Debussy,  Darius Milhaud
    Performer:  Elisa Pegreffi,  Franco Rossi,  Piero Farulli,  Paolo Borciani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 19.
    Beethoven Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000445002 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Henryk Szeryng,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Sir Georg Solti,  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Wind Soloists,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 20.
    Brahms: Piano Quintet, Op. 34 / Pollini, Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 474839 Release Date: 06/22/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 21.
    The #1 Beethoven Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000111302 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pilar Lorengar,  Yvonne Minton,  Stuart Burrows,  Martti Talvela  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Claudio Abbado,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 22.
    Essential Beethoven - 24 Of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 468530 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Martti Talvela,  James King,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Piero Gamba,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 23.
    Debussy, Ravel: String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4643602 Release Date: 10/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 24.
    The Book Lover's Companion - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462773 Release Date: 09/01/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean Louis Steuerman,  Herbert Stähr,  Werner Haas,  George Pieterson  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Edo De Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Berlin Philharmonic Octet members  ... 
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  • 25.
    Beethoven For Babies - Brain Training For Little Ones
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462711 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Severino Gazzelloni,  Bruno Canino,  Claudio Arrau,  Sviatoslav Richter  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century,  Quartetto Italiano,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $6.99
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