Schoenberg's Notes for the Original 78's:(of the 1st. String Quartet) There will not be many people today who would understand the opposition which this work provoked at its first performance in Vienna February 5, 1907. Nevertheless, with a retrospective glance at the time in question, it is comprehensible. First its unusual length. It is composed in one very long movement, without the conventional interruptions after each movement. Influenced by Beethoven's C-Sharp-Minor-Quartet, by Liszt's Piano Sonata, Bruckner's and Gustav Mahler's Symphonies, we young composers believed this to be the artistic way to compose…..
Ernest Chausson died when his bicycle crashed into a wall. Among the various projects he left behind were some orchestral overtures, a violin sonata, a second symphony and this string quartet. He had finished the first two movements of the quartet and was nearly at the end of the third when the accident happened. D’Indy completed the third movement and it is for this reason it seems appropriate to couple the two works on this recording.
If there is one Swedish composer in the early 20th century who in some way can compare with Sibelius and Nielsen, it is Wilhelm Stenhammar. The seven quartets (of which one, in F minor, was withdrawn by the composer soon after its first performance) were written over the space of 22 years, and mirror Stenhammar’s development, from full-blown Romanticism to a more sparse and formally concentrated idiom.
Krenek's eight String Quartets constitute a significant output of works and offer a fascinating testimony of many of the musical styles prevalent in the Pre-2nd World War Austrian-German world, from a burning late Romantic style indebted to Krenek's teacher Franz Schreker, to strict dodecaphony, by way of early Schoenbergian free atonality, Bartokian angularity, Stravinskian neo-classicism and jazz- inspiration. The first seven were written between 1921 (the composer was 21 then) and 1944, the eighth coming as a much later afterthought, in 1980……
‘brilliantly incisive and excellently balanced. In particular, the great first movement sounds much more radical than usual, simply because the players pay scrupulous attention to Britten's expression marks and relish the remarkable contrasts of tempo and texture.’Gramophone, reviewing the 1st quartet , May 1991
Sofia Gubaidulina, one of the most distinct composers of the present time, says of herself that she is “a daughter of two worlds, whose soul lives in the music of both the West and East”. From her father’s side, her life was entered by the world of Islamic culture, while her mother introduced her to Christianity, in which she found her identity in the Orthodox faith. Her quest for a singular style was strongly influenced by the legacies of J. S. Bach and Anton Webern, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich, who encouraged her to remain herself and “continue down the mistaken path” for which she was criticised by the guardians of aesthetic correctness in the Soviet Union.
Completing the 2006 commemorative releases of Shostakovich’s 100th anniversary, Chandos is delighted to announce the complete Shostakovich String Quartet cycle performed by Sorrel Quartet.
The first of the Artemis Quartet’s Virgin Classics CDs of Beethoven Quartets was released in Autumn 2005. Now, nearly six years later, the complete Beethoven cycle becomes available in a box of 7 CDs which includes two previously unreleased items: the quartet No 10, op 74, known as the ‘Harp’, and a transcription for string quartet, proudly made by Beethoven himself, of the Piano Sonata No 9, op 14.