Anton Dvorak – String Quartets No.10 & 11 – Quatuor Talich (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:09:49 minutes | 636 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ La Dolce Volta
In 1975 Paris discovered the four Czech musicians of the Talich Quartet and was dumbfounded by the depth of their harmony and the reach of their melody. The first recording followed a year later. The subject was Antonín Dvorák, the object the ‘American’ Quartet. An interpretation that has become legendary … Since then, the Talich Quartet has been characterised, both in record and in concert and through all its changes in personnel, by a specific tone, a particular sonority that has always riveted the attention. Now, with its poetic playing, its subtle, tender lyricism, the group returns at last to Dvorák with the Quartets nos.10 and 11. In their time, these two works enjoyed genuine popular success. They were played all over Europe, and gained Dvorák a reputation as one of the most important chamber music composers of his day. The Talich Quartet offers us here a chance to discover and appreciate these two masterpieces that have been unfairly overshadowed by the fame of the ‘American’ Quartet.
There are numerous fine renderings of the complete Beethoven Quartets in the catalogue, ranging from the treasured old Budapest Quartet recordings still awaiting reissue from Sony (if that company ever recovers from its delusion that we’re all waiting for more crossover dreck), the sleek Alban Berg on EMI, the dramatic Emersons on Deutsche Grammophon, the warm probings of the Italiano on Philips, and the ripely humane Vegh on Valois. Is there room for another? You bet, if it’s as profound and as well-played and recorded as this one from the Talich Quartet. That goes double if, as Calliope has done, those top-drawer performances are issued at the bargain price of seven CDs for the price of three.
The Talich traversal of the Beethovens originally came out in the dying days of analogue. I loved them then and I love them even more in their CD incarnation, which adds transparency and bite to sound that always was clear and impactful. The Talich’s virtues are many: they’re as technically adept as any of their rivals; they subordinate flashy virtuosity to the music’s meaning; they have a beautifully blended tone, with sonorities built up from the bottom; inner lines are always carefully delineated so the balances are never tilted toward the first violin; rhythms are flowing; and attacks are firm without being aggressive. Their concentration is outstanding too, so even at a slow pace the middle section of the Grosse Fugue never lapses into torpor, while the intensity of Op. 59 No. 1 never flags. The ensemble’s use of color for expressive effect heightens the eloquence of the late quartets, which are the highlights of the set thanks to the Talich’s searching interpretations and stylistic integrity.
If there’s a weakness here it’s in the slightly laid-back approach that misses the wit of the Op. 18 quartets and occasionally–only occasionally–induces a feeling that a bit more muscle would be welcome. But such flaws, if that’s what they are, are inconsequential given the Talich’s overall achievement. –Dan Davis, ClassicsToday
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
String Quartet no.10 in E flat major, op.51
1. I. Allegro, ma non troppo 14:33
2. II. Dumka. Andante con moto 07:20
3. III. Romanza 08:07
4. IV. Finale. Allegro assai 08:05
String Quartet no.11 in C major, op.61
5. I. Allegro 10:55
6. II. Poco adagio e molto cantabile 07:05
7. III. Scherzo. Allegro vivo 06:56
8. IV. Finale. Vivace 06:48
Jan Talich, violin
Roman Patocka, violin
Vladimír Bukac, viola
Petr Prause, cello