Spohr: Complete String Quintets Vol 4 / New Haydn Quartet

Release Date: 3/23/1999
Label: Marco Polo
Catalog Number: 8223600
Composer: Louis Spohr
Orchestra/Ensemble: New Haydn Quartet
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Though it's difficult to imagine Spohr's music ever regaining the popularity and high prestige it enjoyed during his lifetime, recordings of much of his enormous output are now available. This 1996 programme features two substantial late works. The G minor Quintet has an anxious, troubled character, powerfully established at the beginning, and recurring in the restless Minuet, an interesting piece full of unsettling harmonic ambiguities. The Larghetto is a beautiful movement, too, though it recalls Spohr's hero, Mozart, rather too precisely (the Quintet, K593). The first movement's dark mood, however, dissipates a bit too easily in the coda, and the G major barcarolle finale, though brilliantly and richly written for strings, still presents a rather weak conclusion.

The Sextet is another matter: consistently inspired, highly imaginative and satisfying. The expansive first movement, like a wide landscape with deep, glowing colours, is followed by a slight but charming Larghetto and then an original combination of Moderato scherzo, veering between A minor and major, and rollicking C major finale. The Potpourri for solo violin and quartet, written 40 years earlier, is a delightful, quaint piece, containing variations on a Russian melody and on 'La ci darem' from Don Giovanni.

The New Haydn Quartet and colleagues play confidently, with strong, expressive, well blended tone and rhythmic verve. There are places - the Sextet's finale is one - where I wondered whether a lighter, more pointed style might have served the music better, but in general I can't imagine the composer being other than delighted.

-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone [6/2006]
Works on This Recording
1. Quintet for Strings no 7 in G minor, Op. 144 by Louis Spohr
Performer: György Porzolt (Viola), Sándor Papp (Viola), Gábor Magyar (Cello), János Horváth (Violin), Péter Sárosi (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: New Haydn Quartet
Period: Romantic
Written: 1850 ; Germany
2. Sextet for Strings in C major, Op. 140 by Louis Spohr
Performer: György Porzolt (Viola), János Horváth (Violin), Péter Sárosi (Violin), Sándor Papp (Viola), Tamás Varga (Cello), Gábor Magyar (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: New Haydn Quartet
Period: Romantic
Written: 1848 ; Kassel, Germany
3. Potpourri for Violin no 2 in B flat major on themes by Mozart, Op. 22 by Louis Spohr
Performer: György Porzolt (Viola), János Horváth (Violin), Attila Falvay (Violin), Péter Sárosi (Violin), Gábor Magyar (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: New Haydn Quartet
Period: Romantic
Written: 1807 ; Germany
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