An enchanting programme of Russian music for string quartet from the acclaimed Kuss Quartet. The multiple-composer 'Variations on a Russian folk song' has composers such as Scriabin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and Lyadov rub shoulders with lesser-known names such as Vitols, Blumenfeld, Ewald, Winkler, Sokolov and Artsybuschev – each composer contributing a variation.
Selections from Tchaikovsky’s 'Album for the Young' frame two 20th-century works: Stravinsky’s effervescent 'Concertino', and Schnittke’s spare and sombre 'Canon in memoriam Igor Stravinsky'. • Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular First String Quartet concludes an ingeniously constructed programme.
“The Kuss Quartet's new record, 'Theme russe', consists mostly of a number of appetising morsels, not so much a meal as hors d'oeuvres...Tchaikovsky provides the only substantial work, his First Quartet, played with a lively dance lilt in the Scherzo and a gentle eloquence with the arrangement of a genuine Ukrainian folksong” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012
“An intelligent, rewarding and well-recorded programme from this superb German-based quartet. The main work, Tchaikovsky's first quartet, comes at the end and is one of the finest recent performances on disc.” Classical Music, 21st April 2012 *****
“The Kuss's relatively low-key approach works well in the Schnittke but makes the Concertino seem discursive and dull...The Kuss seem more at home in Dubinsky's arrangements of Tchaikovsky...In Tchaikovsky's Quartet, the players bring an understated tenderness to the well-loved slow movement” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 ***/****