Brodsky Quartet

String Quartet

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Mozart: Flute Quartets

Mozart: Flute Quartets


Mozart:

Flute Quartets Nos. 1-4 (complete)

Andante in C major, K315 for flute and orchestra

arr. Mordechai Rechtman


Lisa Friend (flute)

Brodsky Quartet

Members of the Brodsky Quartet meet the internationally famous flautist Lisa Friend in an album of key works of the flute repertoire: Mozart’s flute quartets.

Highly praised for previous recordings, her own compositions, solo recitals in Europe, the US, and Asia, as well as appearances with prestigious orchestras (the Philharmonia, City of Prague Philharmonic, Virtuosi Pragenses, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), Lisa Friend devotes her very first recording on Chandos to witty, colourful interpretations or Mozart.

The flute quartets of Mozart are central to the classical flute repertoire – and deservedly so: the composer’s characteristic charm, wit, beauty, and elegance are in evidence throughout. These works convincingly embody Mozart’s desire to compose music that engages trained musicians, while also entrancing lay listeners without their necessarily knowing precisely why.

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Chandos - CHAN10932

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Brahms: String Quartet No. 1 & Piano Quintet

Brahms: String Quartet No. 1 & Piano Quintet


Brahms:

Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

Natacha Kudritskaya (piano)

String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51 No. 1


The Brodsky Quartet presents this second volume in its exploration of Brahms’s complete string quartets. The first, which also featured the Clarinet Quintet with Michael Collins, received numerous enthusiastic reviews, The Guardian praising the players for their ‘immaculate’ performance. The String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 1, featured here, was written alongside its contrasting companion, Op. 51 No. 2. Both were finally published in 1873 after having been held back for years by a typically self-doubting Brahms, until he had brought them to his own high standards of perfection. Op. 51 may be regarded as evidence of his concern to revive and reinvigorate a genre, the strong legacy of which went back to the generation of Mozart, Haydn, and, above all, Beethoven. The Quartet is joined by the young, prodigious Ukrainian pianist Natacha Kudritskaya in the Piano Quintet, a more adventurous work: it had started life as a String Quintet, which Brahms then transcribed as a sonata for two pianos. The final version gives as much importance to the strings as to the piano.

“The Brodskys hold clarity and passion in fine balance in the C minor quartet, while in the thrilling F minor quintet, the Ukrainian pianist adds an effective bite to the often clamorous texture from the off” Sunday Times, 17th April 2016

“they excel in a wide range of repertoire, and this performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet...with the Ukrainian pianist Natacha Kudritskaya, is big-boned, impassioned and, especially in the Andante, warm and lyrical.” The Observer, 10th April 2016 ***

“It’s 0 to 100 in three seconds: from the first notes and initial crescendo of the Brahms Op. 51 No. 1, the Brodsky Quartet means serious business. All of this long-established ensemble’s considerable prowess is brought to bear on the composer’s turbulent chamber music: an enormous and remarkable intensity suffuses the atmosphere throughout. The result is inspiring, profoundly unsettling and a true visceral thrill” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 *****

“These are performances that are not afraid to relax, which don’t insist on maintaining constant tension to keep the pieces taut and together…the playing in the Quintet is similar and matched well by that of Natacha Kudritskaya, who plays very much as part of the team…it’s an approach that makes a fascinating contrast to more conventionally forceful and richly drawn accounts” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

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Zemlinsky: String Quartets

Zemlinsky: String Quartets


Zemlinsky:

String Quartet in E minor

premiere recording

String Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 4

String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15

String Quartet No. 3, Op. 19

String Quartet No. 4 (Suite), Op. 25


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

In this recording of the complete String Quartets by Zemlinsky, which includes a premiere recording, the Brodsky Quartet gives fresh life to the composer’s works, ‘with a spirit so transformational you felt they were actually improving the world’, as reported by The Strad after a recent concert performance. The four string quartets which Zemlinsky published represent a journey through his musical thought. It starts with the Brahmsian, youthful Quartet in A major, Op. 4 which is generously proportioned and less earnest in mood than some earlier works. Then the Second Quartet, Op. 15 echoes the composer’s years of emotional crisis. The booklet essay explains the symbolism which Zemlinsky deployed in the score, evoking the compromising relationship between his sister Mathilde and his friend Schoenberg, as well as his own disillusioned love affair with Alma Schindler. Contrastingly, the Third Quartet, Op. 19 appears to be a sarcastic protest against modernism, in which Zemlinsky exploits a minimum of material to maximum effect, the entire fabric evolving from the intervals and rhythms of the opening theme. Having been blacklisted by the Nazi campaign against ‘degenerate’ art, the Fourth Quartet, Op. 25 achieved its first public performance in 1967, thirty years after its composition. It deploys a wealth of thematic ideas in a process of continual variation and metamorphosis that follows the outlines of sonata form. The String Quartet in E minor failed to pass its trial at the Viennese Tonkünstlerverein when it was first presented in 1893. It was not published until 1997 and appears here on disc for the first time. The opening movement spins a sophisticated net of motivic relationships, harmonic ambiguities, and metrical irregularities. From the simplicity and melodic charm of the Andante and scherzo to the energetic and inventive finale, the quartet is a remarkable legacy of Zemlinsky’s early command of string texture.

“The Brodsky Quartet play with intensity compositions that chart a journey from the romantic to the modern.” Financial Times, 7th February 2015

“Perhaps it’s something to do with their own wide-ranging repertoire and finely-honed ability to move between idioms and sound-worlds, but the Brodskys really do work wonders with [No. 2's] slippery, uncompromising modernism... the balance between achieving blend and maintaining clarity, for instance, is masterfully realised in the ambiguous, shape-shifting middle stretches of this elusive single-movement work.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 9th February 2015

“Zemlinsky is a vital, underestimated figure...The Brodskys do passionate justice to the four published quartets, composed between 1896 and 1936. They also offer a welcome premiere recording of the meaty E minor quartet.” Sunday Times, 15th February 2015

“[the String Quartet in E minor] is played with commitment and elegance. As for the numbered quartets, I was impressed by the Brodskys' forthright and uncompromising approach to the dark and desolate Fourth...Their version of the Third is also illuminating, presenting the first movement in a much more highly wrought Romantic manner than does other accounts.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 ****

“[This set] from the Brodsky - with its warmly focused sound and detailed notes by Anthony Beaumont - should certainly be considered for those wishing to get to know this 'dark horse' among quartet cycles of the early twentieth century.” International Record Review, March 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

9th February 2015

Chandos - CHAN10845(2)

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Grundman, J: A Mortuis Resurgere (The Resurrection of Christ)

Grundman, J: A Mortuis Resurgere (The Resurrection of Christ)


Susana Cordón (soprano)

Brodsky Quartet

Jorge Grundman uses his unique compositional voice to create music which, above all, communicates with remarkable directness. The simplicity and strength of his artistic vision, intended to reach the widest audience possible, is clear in A Mortuis Resurgere, a work here receiving its premiere recording. Scored for soprano and string quartet, A Mortuis Resurgere sets passages from chapters XIX and XX of St John’s Gospel telling the story of the resurrection of Christ.

Throughout its extended single movement the soprano soloist is required to use a wide range of expressive vocal techniques to communicate the meaning of the Latin text. Supporting the soprano voice is the string quartet, its slowly changing harmonies animated by a surface of rapid rhythmic figurations, all of which combine to produce shifting textures. The contemplative modal-based harmonies are typical of Grundman’s style and form a part of his artistic vision to bridge the gap between pop and classical music.

Joining the Brodsky Quartet is the Spanish soprano Susana Cordón, for whom the challenging vocal part was written. Renowned for its diverse and pioneering collaborations, the Brodsky Quartet has been vital in the development of Grundman’s style, having worked closely with the composer on a number of his earlier works.

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Joubert - Chamber and Instrumental Music

Joubert - Chamber and Instrumental Music


Joubert:

String Quartet No. 2, Op. 91

Landscapes, Op. 129 for soprano & piano trio

Piano trio, Op. 113

Lyric Fantasy for piano, Op. 144 on themes from the opera Jane Eyre

Piano Sonata No. 1 in one movement, Op. 24

Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 71

Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 157


“Pride of place foes to Joubert's 1977 Second Quartet, an impressive piece played with great conviction by the Brodsky Quartet, in the best recording of the set.” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2007 ****

“The Brodskys kick off proceedings with a gloriously persuasive and stylish performance of the Second Quartet (1977): a marvellously invigorating and cogent creation… Landscapes for soprano and piano trio… will leave you in no doubt as… Joubert's instinctive ability to illuminate the text. Patricia Rozario sings with ardour and is watchfully supported by an ad hoc group that includes the composer's cellist daughter, Anna. Fifteen years separate the first two piano sonatas, the finale of No 2 (1977) enshrining another Passacagalia of giddy fecundity. John McCabe... remains a consummate champion. He also performs the substantial Third Sonata (2006)... with thrilling discernment and belief.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2007

Somm Céleste - SOMM060

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Trees, Walls, Cities

Trees, Walls, Cities


Richard Thomas (Lyricist), Peter Huchel (Lyricist), Ferdinand Schmatz (Lyricist), Milan Milisic (Lyricist), Mehmet Yasin (Lyricist), Solomon (Lyricist), Loré Lixenberg (mezzo-soprano), Solomon (Lyricist)

Brodsky Quartet

Chandos - CHAN10883

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Isidora Zebeljan: Chamber Music

Isidora Zebeljan: Chamber Music


Zebeljan:

A Yawl on the Danube

Dance of the wooden sticks

New Songs of Lada without Words

Pep it up

Polomka Quartet

Sarabande

Song of a Traveller in the Night


Aneta Ilic (soprano), Stefan Dohr (horn), Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet), Isidora Zebeljan (piano), Miroslav Karlovic (percussion), Boban Stosic (double bass)

Brodsky Quartet, Premil Petrovic

Isidora Žebeljan currently ranks as one of Serbia’s most successful composers. She gained international notice with her opera Zora D. composed as a commissioned work for London’s Genesis Foundation. Numerous commissions from renowned ensembles, institutions, and festivals have followed. Žebeljan maintains a special relationship with the Brodsky Quartet, which have performed her entire ensemble oeuvre and for whom she has composed works especially for. For Žebeljan the folk music tradition naturally forms a central point of departure from which she goes on to create her musical world.

“[Zebeljan] is justly celebrated for her music's intense originality and fiery emotional expression…the complex folk music traditions of [Romania, Serbia and Hungary] richly infuse Zebeljan's work across this fine collection of chamber works…[a] powerful recording.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2016 ****

“[Zebeljan's] works are packed with fiery energy and the tricksy dance rhythms of home…her music spins off impetuously, unpredictably, with an unshackled verve that this chamber collection taps into with exactly the right kind of abandon. At the heart of the album is the Brodsky Quartet, an ensemble for whom Zebeljan has orften written. It's easy to hear why: their lithe and dauntless attack is an ideal fit.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

“Žebeljan spent much of her childhood in the region that gave us Bartók and Kurtág. That’s no surprise, considering the spiky beauty and joy in folk-dance that infuses her chamber music. Žebeljan’s mature writing for quartet is full of texture and restless detail, and the Brodsky Quartet have long championed it.” The Guardian, 10th December 2015 ***

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Britten: The Complete String Quartets

Britten: The Complete String Quartets


Britten:

Three Divertimenti

String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 25

String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36

String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94


This specially priced 2CD set by the Brodsky Quartet includes their celebrated recordings of the complete String Quartets written by Benjamin Britten. It finally assembles all of these 2001 recordings in one set.

The Brodsky Quartet is a major player at the forefront of international chamber music scene, and has been performing and recording since 1972. Uniquely, though, they have pushed back the boundaries of string quartet playing, with exciting new commissions and bold collaborations with Elvis Costello and Björk, musicians who are perhaps better known in the rock and pop fields. Pushing back the boundaries is not confined to their repertoire. While the tradition all over the world is for string quartets to perform sitting down the Brodsky Quartet plays standing up, making performances a unique experience: "…that they choose to stand when playing drives the music and gives a real edge to their performance. The intensity of concentration and communication between the players reaches out from the stage right into the audience" - BBC Radio 3

The Brodsky Quartet has enjoyed working and performing with some of the world’s most outstanding musicians, including Maria Joao Pires, Joanna MacGregor, Dimitri Ashkenazy and Anne Sofie von Otter. They have also worked closely with composers such as John Tavener, Witold Lutoslawski, Peter Sculthorpe, Django Bates, Julian Nott and Dave Brubeck.

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Messages: Chamber Music for Strings

Messages: Chamber Music for Strings


Panufnik, A:

String Quartet No. 1

String Quartet No. 2, ‘Messages’

String Quartet No. 3, ‘Wycinanki’

Song to the Virgin Mary

for string sextet

with Robert Smissen (viola) & Richard May (cello)

Panufnik, R:

Memories of my Father

premiere recording

Modlitwa (sextet)

premiere recording in this version

with Robert Smissen (viola) & Richard May (cello)


2014 marks the centenary of Polish-British composer Andrzej Panufnik. Here the Brodsky Quartet joins in this year of reminiscence and celebration with Messages, a recording of works both by Andrzej and his daughter Roxanna Panufnik.

String sextets begin and end the disc. In the first, Modlitwa, both father and daughter have composed sections, Roxana Panufnik having contributed to what was originally a vocal work and subsequently made this sextet arrangement.

Andrzej Panufnik’s Song to the Virgin Mary also began life in a vocal setting, for a cappella chorus, and was dedicated to his wife, Camilla. Andrzej Panufnik’s three string quartets showcase his innovative and expressive musical language. The first contrasts dynamic conversations between individual instruments with beautiful unified quartet textures. String Quartet No. 2 - Messages is inspired by childhood memories of listening to the eerie sounds of a wooden telegraph pole in the wind. String Quartet No. 3 - Wycinanki takes its title from a traditional Polish folk art formed of intricately cut paper. Its movements, five miniature studies, each represent a uniquely shaped and coloured paper-cut from a different corner of Poland.

Separating these quartets are the two movements of Memories of My Father. Commissioned by the Brodsky Quartet especially for the centenary, it represents a highly personal reflection from Roxana Panufnik on the life and music of her father.

“The meat of the programme is the set of three string quartets written by the elder Panufnik, superbly performed here by the Brodsky. I think that the second movement of Quartet No. 1, 'Transformations', is one of the finest things the composer ever wrote, and the performance here does it full justice, balancing to perfection its combination of fragility and extreme tension.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

Chandos - CHAN10839

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Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2 & Clarinet Quintet

Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2 & Clarinet Quintet


Brahms:

Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

Michael Collins (clarinet)

String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2


The Brodsky Quartet present the first of two discs that will feature Brahms’s complete string quartets. This recording includes the String Quartet Op. 51 No. 2 with the Clarinet Quintet in B minor. The second string quartet was written alongside its contrasting companion, the String Quartet Op. 51 No. 1. They were both finally published in 1873 after being held back for years by a typically self-doubting Brahms until he had brought them to his own standards of perfection. Of the two, the second is warmer, more affirmative and relaxed, with few extremes of tempo or mood. It is a work that often looks backward, incorporating hints of baroque devices in his lyrical writing.

The Clarinet Quintet in B minor was the last expansive piece Brahms wrote, written after his first intended retirement from composition. It was the artistry of clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld that inspired him to return to composition and write his last four chamber works, including the quintet recorded here. It explores an atmosphere of elegy and nostalgia, producing a mood of autumnal resignation. The clarinet is rarely treated as a prima donna soloist, rather it is organically integrated into the work’s closely woven textures. Having performed this work in concert many times, the Brodsky Quartet and Michael Collins come together once again in this recording of the Brahms Quintet.

“Except perhaps for the stately way in which the Clarinet Quintet begins, there are no surprises in these performances. Michael Collins plays with his usual suave assurance, the Brodsky Quartet manage the Quintet and the A minor String Quartet immaculately. What is lacking, though, is any sense of necessity” The Guardian, 6th March 2014 ***

“Perhaps no clarinettist around today is capable of floating a purer, smoother, more beautifully contoured melodic line than Michael Collins, and he is often heard at his best in the four late masterpieces that Brahms dedicated to the artistry of the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 ***

“The Brodskys offer a mellow account of the former and blend well with Collins in the latter – especially the great Adagio, which has a shimmering, ruminative quality.” Financial Times, 5th April 2014 ***

“Both [Collins] and the Brodskys erase all possible strenuousness and poacity (always dangers in such richly contrapuntal writing) with supreme clarity, vigour and refinement. Finely recorded, this is outstanding even by Collins and the Brodsky's standards.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

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