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The legendary Fritz Kreisler and his friend Efrem Zimbalist were both ranked among the greatest violinists of their time, becoming household names in America in the 1920s. Their generation, however, regarded Eugène Ysaÿe as ‘the master of us all’. These works all transcend mere virtuoso showmanship. Kreisler’s Quartet is filled with emotion and unpredictable harmonic shifts, while the tender, sometimes hauntingly beautiful melodies in Zimbalist’s Quartet hark back to the composer’s Russian origins. Ysaÿe’s Harmonies du soir emerges as a sensual chromatic journey towards a glorious musical sunrise.
Fritz Kreisler: String Quartet in A minor
I. Fantasia: Moderato - Allegro moderato
III. Einleitung and Romanze: Allegretto - Andante con moto
Efrem Zimbalist: String Quartet in E minor
II. Con brio
III. Andante con moto
IV. Allegro di molto
Eugene Ysaye: Harmonies du soir, Op. 31
Harmonies du soir, Op. 31
“It was an inspired idea to programme music by three of the finest violinists of the last century...The Fine Arts Quartet rise with aplomb to [the Zimbalist's] many interpretative and technical challenges, sustaining a glorious richness of tone, coupled with a portamento-inflected cantabile espressivo that sits hand in glove with the music's Romantic opulence. Fine, bold engineering too.”
“No lost masterpieces here but a disc of real interest for those aficionados of unusual chamber repertoire played to a very high standard”
29th January 2012
“This curiosity links three virtuoso performer-composers, all friends, who in their day dominated the concert platform. Here, rather than flashy violin showpieces, we have examples of their work for string quartet and small orchestra. It's a positive festival of portamenti and queasy chromaticism”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.