String Quartet No. 1 & No. 2 Smetana Quartet
- Leoš Janáček (1854 - 1928): Janáček: String Quartet No. 1:
- 1Janáček: String Quartet No. 1: I. Adagio; Con moto04:08
- 2Janáček: String Quartet No. 1: II. Con moto05:07
- 3Janáček: String Quartet No. 1: III. Con moto; Vivace; Andante03:41
- 4Janáček: String Quartet No. 1: IV. Con moto; Adagio; Maestoso05:21
- Janáček: String Quartet No. 2:
- 5Janáček: String Quartet No. 2: I. Andante; Con moto; Allegro06:17
- 6Janáček: String Quartet No. 2: II. Adagio; Vivace06:02
- 7Janáček: String Quartet No. 2: III. Moderato; Adagio05:32
- 8Janáček: String Quartet No. 2: IV. Allegro; Andante; Adagio07:15
Info for String Quartet No. 1 & No. 2
The recording captures the quartet as if they were in your living room ... This is the kind of album that makes record reviewing the best job in the world. (Gramophone Awards) "These performances set a new standard and reveal so much of what makes these quartets unique." (BBC Music Magazine) "This is extraordinarily bold playing - and they truly capture the sense that Smetana is writing symphonic quartet music." (Gramophone) "In their native repertoire they are well-nigh incomparable." (The Sunday Times) When the most prominent critics across the board concur in the opinion that an album is extraordinary, it certainly deserves to be released on HighResAudio.
Although Smetana's chamber pieces are few in number, each of them - personal, many a time harboring a bold autobiographical statement - constitutes one of the cornerstones of Czech chamber music. Smetana wrote his two quartets in the twilight of his life, when he was afflicted by deafness. String Quartet No. 1, "From My Life", is a program work: "My aim was to depict in tones the course of my life ... the piece is of an intimate nature; therefore I deliberately wrote it for 4 instruments, which should converse as though within a close circle of friends..." Owing to its being composed in an unconventional manner, String Quartet No. 2 comes across as a 20th-century work.
The Smetana Quartet
very quickly became one of the ensembles linking up to the tradition and legacy of the members of the Czech Quartet. Together with other ensembles – the Vlach Quartet, Janáček Quartet and Prague City Quartet – it was instrumental in the “Czech quartet school” attaining its unique position, dominated by refinement of sound, stylistic purity, technical precision, sensitivity for leading the musical phrase and an extraordinary sense of interplay. The Smetana Quartet, which launched its great interpretational career by winning an award within the 1950 Prague Spring International Music Competition, was for the period of 43 years one of the world’s leading ensembles. Its superb performances were captured on more than 150 gramophone records, the ensemble gave thousands of concerts in some sixty countries throughout Europe, America and Asia, and was repeatedly invited to the most prestigious festivals and recording studios. From its establishment in 1945, the Smetana Quartet played in the following line-up: Jiří Novák (1st violin), Lubomír Kostecký (2nd violin), Václav Neumann (to 1946), Jaroslav Rybenský (1947–1955) and Milan Škampa (from 1956), viola, Antonín Kohout (violoncello). When performing quintet compositions, the Smetana Quartet was frequently joined by the pianists Jan Panenka and Josef Hála, the violinist Josef Suk and the clarinettist Vladimír Říha.
This album contains no booklet.