SMETANA String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 SIBELIUS String Quartet Voces intimae Op. 56 Dante Quartet. Hyperion

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Smetana String Quartets Nos 1 Op 56 Dante Quartet Hyperion

BEDRVICH SMETANA (1824–1884)

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865–1957)

String Quartets

Dante Quartet

Krysia Osostowicz - violin

Giles Francis - violin

Judith Busbridge - viola

Bernard Gregor-Smith – cello

SIBELIUS

String Quartet in D minor ‘Voces intimae’ Op 56

1 Andante – Allegro molto moderato [6'35]

2 Vivace [2'37]

3 Adagio di molto [10'45]

4 Allegretto, ma pesante [5'53]

5 Allegro [5'11]

SMETANA

String Quartet No 1 in E minor ‘From my life’

6 Allegro vivo appassionato [7'39]

7 Allegro moderato alla polka [5'38]

8 Largo sostenuto [8'44]

9 Vivace [5'57]

SMETANA

String Quartet No 2 in D minor

10 Allegro [4'58]

11 Allegro moderato [5'49]

12 Allegro non più moderato, ma agitato e con fuoco [4'34]

13 Presto [2'43]

BBC Music Magazine award winners the Dante Quartet return for their third Hyperion recording with the string quartets of Smetana and Sibelius. This group, renowned for their inventive interpretations and sensitive articulation, capture perfectly the expressive intensity of these masterpieces.

Smetana’s Quartet No 1 in E minor is entitled ‘From my life’ and musically chronicles his youth, loves and vocation, culminating with the onset of his deafness. The turbulent second Quartet in D minor serves as a sequel to the first, continuing Smetana’s life story. The musical language is adventurous and unusual, speaking movingly of the composer’s loss of his hearing.

Interestingly, Smetana and Sibelius, both renowned for their skilful dealing with symphonic forces poignantly turned to the intimacy of the string quartet form at specific points of crisis in their lives. Voces intimae is an intense precursor to Sibelius’s tormented fourth Symphony, written at a time of profound depression. These works give a unique insight into the private musical lives of their composers and are performed by the Dante Quartet with conviction and flawless technique.

Hyperion Records CDA67845

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