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 35 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Schubert: String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186232 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
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  • 2.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002459302 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Stuart Neill,  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $219.98
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  • 3.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $124.98
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  • 4.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $106.98
    CD: $78.99
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  • 6.
    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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    CD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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    ArkivCD $76.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    Debussy: 3 Sonatas, String Quartet, Syrinx / Grumiaux, Gendron, Quartetto Italiano
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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    On sale! $38.98
    CD: $34.99
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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.
    Schubert, Debussy, Milhaud: Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Urania Records   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
    CD: $29.99
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  • 18.
    Beethoven Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000445002 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Claudio Arrau,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Eliahu Inbal,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 19.
    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! $19.99
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Mozart, Haydn, Schubert: Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1125 Release Date: 08/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
    On sale! $25.98
    CD: $22.99
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  • 22.
    Vitali, Vivaldi, Galuppi, Et Al / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1124 Release Date: 08/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Luigi Boccherini,  Giovanni Battista Vitali,  Giuseppe Maria Cambini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 23.
    Mozart For Monday Mornings
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462433 Release Date: 04/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mitsuko Uchida,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Walter Klien
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jeffrey Tate,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Quartetto Italiano,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: The String Quartets / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454062 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franco Rossi,  Piero Farulli,  Elisa Pegreffi,  Paolo Borciani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
    On sale! $79.98
    CD: $75.99
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  • 25.
    Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Et Al / Quartetto Italiano
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1123 Release Date: 02/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gian-Francesco Malipiero,  Darius Milhaud,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
    On sale! $25.98
    CD: $22.99
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