Following a very successful concert at the Music Room of Champs Hill, the renowned Skampa Quartet returned to Champs Hill to record this album featuring Antonin Dvorak's American String Quartet and Quintet Opp. 96-97, joined by violist Krzysztof Chorzelski for the latter. The quartet talk about their choice of repertoire: ''We were seduced by the charming coincidence of both opus numbers having been destined for string quartet, while the preceding work, Op. 95, happens to be nothing smaller than the monumental Symphony No. 9, the 'New World' Symphony.'' The Skampa Quartet is among the very finest of an outstanding group of current Czech string quartets that hasRead more represented their country in major Concert Halls around the world for twenty-five years. The quartet have established a close relationship with BBC Radio 3 resulting in regular broadcasts from Wigmore Hall, St. John's Smith Square, LSO St. Luke's and the Chamber Music proms. They have been an award-winning recording artist for Supraphon for most of the Quartet's career. They are now also among the elite artists whose performances have been selected for release on Wigmore Hall Live label.
The Czech Škampa Quartet are on home ground here. Throughout the American Quartet they evince an ease of manner reminiscent of the iconic reading by the Pavel Haas Quartet. Their reading of the far less well-known American Quintet gives the music time to breathe, conjuring a sense of great vistas in the manner of the composer's famous From The New World (Ninth) Symphony. With a warmly realistic acoustic, this is a tremendous achievement.