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Schnittke: Quartet & Quintet with Piano, String Trio / Bessette, Quatuor Molinari

Schnittke / Quatuor Molinari
Release Date: 01/29/2013 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2669   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Louise Bessette
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Molinari Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Schnittke's String Trio is a memory work, a 1985 commission designed to commemorate the centenary of Alban Berg's birth, where memories hallucinate and it transpires that the familiar and unfamiliar are interchangeable.That any group could play this music better than the Montreal-based Quatuor Molinari is inconceivable. Their perspective on the work is stark and unnerving. Mozartian minuet figurations emerge not as comfort listening but, like all Schnittke's markers, are in freefall disintegration.

Their performance of Schnittke's Piano Quintet, with Canadian pianist Louise Bessette, highlights another asset, the scarred, scorched-earth temperament of their base sonic palette.

Misrepresenting this piece,
Read more composed in memory of Schnittke's mother, as a Viennese waltz dances by, as whimsy or resolved closure is too easy. Quatuor Molinari's performance is cooled by death.

The quartet take Schnittke at his word, and never has his Piano Quintet felt like such the masterwork. His briefer Piano Quartet (1988), assembled around fragments of Mahler, establishes the mood music and puts these other works in their aesthetic and cultural context.

- Gramophone

Alfred Schnittke’s chamber music comprises a dozen works which include four string quartets (released in 2011 by ATMA with Molinari Quartet, Chamber Music vol. 1 ACD2 2634), as well as the three works featured on this volume 2.

Internationally acclaimed by the public and the critics since its foundation in 1997, the Molinari Quartet has established a mandate to perform works from the 20th and 21st centuries, repertoire for string quartet, and to commission new works. Recipients of 14 Opus Prizes awarded by the Quebec Music Council, the Molinari Quartet is described by the critics as "Canada's answer to the Kronos or Arditti Quartet." Read less

Works on This Recording

Trio for Strings by Alfred Schnittke
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Molinari Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; USSR 
Quintet for Piano and Strings by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Louise Bessette (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Molinari Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972-1976; USSR 
Quartet for Piano and Strings [after sketches by Mahler] by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Louise Bessette (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Molinari Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1988; Russia 

Sound Samples

Piano Quartet
String Trio: I. Moderato
String Trio: II. Adagio
Piano Quintet: I. Moderato
Piano Quintet: II. In Tempo di Valse
Piano Quintet: III. Andante
Piano Quintet: IV. Lento
Piano Quintet: V. Moderato pastorale

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