This page lists all recordings of String Quartet, by Witold Lutoslawski (1913-94) on CD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.
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Penderecki & Lutoslawski: String Quartets
This wonderful young Polish ensemble continue their exploration of the string quartet repertoire of their homeland with this album of music by two giants of the twentieth century.
Witold Lutoslawski, whose centenary is celebrated in 2013, wrote his one and only string quartet in 1964 and it has since maintained an eminent position in the international repertoire. Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933) was the most talked-about Polish composer in the early 1960s and remains an important presence in contemporary music. His three string quartets (1960, 1968 and 2008) are key works in the history of the post-war Polish quartet.
“[the Penderecki's] not the sort of music that comes off if played half-heartedly, and the Royal String Quartet, with a detailed, clear recording, give it a natural precision and direction...[the Lutoslawski] clearly encourages heightened listening between these players: the structure and pacing remain taut, and it packs the emotional punch. This is great chamber music.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 *****
“Whatever this music's challenges, the emotional disparities of Penderecki or the relative abstractions of Lutoslawski, the Royal Quartet meet them head on.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013
“This is typically magnificent Hyperion production, with keenly preserved instrumental colour and a fine sense of space in the Potton Hall acoustic.” MusicWeb International, May 2013
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This DVD explores the interaction between the members whilst performing these four key 20th Century works for String Quartet.
The quartet firmly believes that music should be seen as well as heard. The mechanics of playing and the communication of the players are what create the art.
The Kreutzer Quartet comprise Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin), Mihailo Trandafilovski (violin), Morgan Goff (viola) and Neil Heyde (cello).
The Kreutzer Quartet has forged an enviable reputation as one of the Europe’s most dynamic and innovative string quartets. The ‘Independent’ newspaper summed up their playing as ‘Passion, Grace and Steel…’.
They are the dedicatees of numerous works, and over many years forged creative partnerships with composers including Sir Michael Tippett, David Matthews, Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir, and Haflidi Hallgrimsson. They have a particularly strong relationship to a cross-section of leading American composers, having collaborated intensively with the great George Rochberg in the last few years of his life, as long as working closely with figures as Elliott Schwartz, and the prolific symphonist Gloria Coates.
As recording artists they have won critical acclaim for their discs on the Naxos, Metier, and Chandos labels. Their work in collaboration with art galleries has garnered much attention, and large audiences, particularly their annual residency at the Tate Gallery, St Ives. In 2008 they appeared at several Festivals including the Venice Biennale, and the Montpelier Festival. They are ‘Artists in association’ at York University.
Double sided DVD - one side NTSC, one side PAL
“These films are edited to mirror something of the composer's approach to structure but, more significantly, to allow viewers to see the physical interaction between player and instrument...Faces darken, moods change, body language becomes slightly defensive. And Stravinsky was right: we hear these moves, see the sound differently.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2012
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Lutoslawski, Cage, Penderecki & Mayuzumi: String Quartets
For those whose knowledge of the 20th century string quartet stops at Bartók and Shostakovich, and maybe Britten and Tippett, the four works on this CD offer a radically different approach to the quartet medium. Lutoslawski’s radical instincts had long been suppressed by the Polish communist regime, but the 1950s Warsaw Autumn Festivals saw a thaw in artistic censorship,and Lutoslawski could experiment with the latest in Western musical developments, and indulge his interest in French Impressionism. The LaSalle Quartet in Stockholm premiered the work in 1965. It was commissioned by Swedish Radio. Penderecki had a considerable body of avant-garde works to his credit in 1960 (he has since adopted a neo-romantic style, and has moved like John Adams, to a more accessible style of composition) when he composed this quartet, which explores all manner of novel sonorities and playing techniques. The LaSalle gave the premiere in Cincinnati in 1962. The Japanese composer Toshiro Mayuzumi studied at the Paris Conservatoire, and was influenced by Messiaen and Japanese traditional music and Buddhism. His Prelude dates from 1961. The oldest work on this CD is the Cage String Quartet in Four parts of 1950. Not only is the work in four movements, it reflects the four voices of the quartet and the Indian view of the year, in which each season is associated with a particular force creation, preservation, destruction and quiescence. The first two movements also refer to places – France and America respectively. The whole work is marked by a remarkable and appealing gentleness, and a continuity of utterance that may come as a surprise to those who are better acquainted with Cage’s reputation than his music.
‘The LaSalle Quartet are as impressive, and as well-recorded, in the full range of playing techniques demanded by the Lutoslawski as they are in the dedicated restraint needed for the Cage.’ Gramophone 1977
‘These excellent performances sound as good as new in their latest, digitally remastered manifestations.’ Gramophone 1988
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Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.
Szymanowski & Lutoslawski: String Quartets