CZECH STRING QUARTETS - DVORAK, JANACEK, MARTINU, SMETANA (15 CDS)
String Quartets Nos. 1-14 (complete)
String Quartet No. 1 'The Kreutzer Sonata'
String Quartet No. 2 'Intimate Letters'
String Quartets Nos. 1-7
String Quartet No. 1 in E minor 'From My Life'
String Quartet No. 2 in D minor
This extensive collection brings together the complete string quartets of Czech composers Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinů.
Those by Dvořák chart the evolution of his style, from his interest in Wagnerian music in the years prior to 1870 – String Quartet in D major – to the folk‐infused works of his later life, such as the String Quartet in G major Op.106, and show the influence of his time in the United States, with the String Quartet in F Op.96 ‘American’. The quartets of Smetana have a distinctive neo‐classical flavour while those of Janáček show strong links to his operatic works. Prolific composer Bohuslav Martinů composed six quartets, of which two were mislaid during the war. One of these, his fifth string quartet, is widely considered to be one of the most pivotal works in the composer’s oeuvre, written in 1938, a year of much upheaval in Martinů’s life. Many of the quartets in the collection hold an emotional dimension, all of which are exquisitely brought to life by the Stamitz Quartet.
Established in 1985, the Stamitz Quartet quickly became known as leading interpreters of Czech repertory. Winners of the 1986 National Broadcasting Union Competition in Salzburg, the quartet’s rise to fame was meteoric; they have since participated in tours throughout Europe and America, and undertaken a variety of recording projects.