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Ruysdael Quartet: First Steps
The Ruysdael Quartet was formed in 1996 and has recorded several CDs.
Tully Potter in the Strad in May wrote “Tchaikovsky’s First Quartet poses no problem to skilled musicians but even so, you are not likely to hear it much better played.”
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Since its creation in 2004, Alfama quartet has made quite a breakthrough thanks to its subtlety, elegance and dynamism.
Selected by ProQuartet in 2006, these four young people work under the guidance of the Danel Quartet, and have worked with Walter Levin (LaSalle Quartet), Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), Heime Muller (Artemis Quartet) and Eberhard Feltz.
Even if they have already been recorded (a.o. for the Leo Brouwer Quintet with guitarist Denis Sung-Hô, FUG524), this is in reality their first great premiere: a sensitive and intelligent exploration of orphan pages of the quartet repertoire: gems signed by famous names ranging from Mendelssohn to Britten, via Tchaikovsky, Wolf, Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg and Webern.
(also available to download from $10.00)
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Pražák Quartet play Schoenberg
The fifth volume devoted to Schönberg’s chamber music. On display here is writing that, after being based on traditional models (youthful Scherzo and Presto), evolves towards a melodic density and clarity of counterpoint making the Chamber Symphony, Op.9 (1906) accomplished and radiant as much in its chamber transcriptions as in the versions for full orchestra. The Quartet No.3 (1926) achieves a masterful balance between rhythm and harmony, melody and counterpoint, horizontality and verticality. For over 30 years, the Prazak Quartet has been at home on music stages worldwide. They are regular guests in the major European musical capitals—Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Madrid, London, Berlin, Munich, etc.—and have been invited to participate at numerous international festivals, where they have collaborated with such artists as Menahem Pressler, Jon Nakamatsu, Cynthia Phelps, Roberto Diaz, Josef Suk, and Sharon Kam.
The Prazak Quartet records exclusively for Praga/Harmonia Mundi which, to date, has released over 30 award-winning CDs. In 2010 Pavel Hula succeeded founding first violinist Vaclav Remes, who was unable to continue performing due to a medical condition in his left hand. Pavel Hula was the longtime first violinist with the Czech-based Kocian Quartet, and has been a close friend of the Prazak Quartet for many years.
“These players approach the music with poise and assurance, as a piece that comes at the advanced end of a long Viennese tradition as well as one that looks forward. The results are thoroughly convincing.” International Record Review, March 2011
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Schoenberg, Berg & Webern: Complete Works for String Quartet
Quatuor Diotima celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016. This boxset dedicated to the Second Viennese School is the first of two events planned to mark this special year - along with the release of a new series of contemporary composer portraits.
This Schoenberg | Berg | Webern set gathers the complete works for string quartet composed by those three iconic composers. This is a major achievement and the result of years of concerts and research by the quartet, which is now considered to be a leading performer in this repertoire.
As well as the two recording projects mentioned above, the upcoming years will be rich in engagements for the quartet, including the cycle of Beethoven-Schoenberg-Boulez works at Wien Modern, concerts in various countries premiering Enno Poppe’s new string quartet (Wittener Tage für neue Musik, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, November Music‘s-Hertogenbosch, Transit Festival Leuven, Festival d´Automne à Paris), the complete Bartók string quartets in one evening at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris and four international tours, across South America, Japan, the United States of America, as well as the ensemble’s first tour to Russia.
“The extreme refinement and minutely focused intensity, in recordings to match, make the Webern a singularly beautiful, if somewhat unsettling experience.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 ****
“Quatuor Diotima couldn’t play an affected, emotionally over-ripened note if they tried. Their vision of Second Viennese School aesthetics views the backdrop of Romanticism – Brahms, Wagner, Mahler et al – as a starting-shot rather than a point of reference to be dwelt over too obsessively.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016
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