08 June 2012

O.Respighi: Il Tramonto, Quartet, Dorian Quartet

FLAC-CUE-LOG | RAR 293Mb | Booklet | Challenge
Release Date: 03/06/2001 | 65'

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String Quartet in D, P. 53 (1907)
Il Tramonto, for voice and string quartet, P. 101 (1914)
Dorian Quartet, P. 144 (1924)

Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Brodsky Quartet:
Ian Belton (Violin)
Andrew Haveron (Violin)
Paul Cassidy (Viola)
Jacqueline Thomas (Cello)

Here is a truly delightful disc, one that may well change a lot of people's notions regarding what kind of composer Respighi was. Yes, he was a master at creating sparkle, atmosphere, and grand effects in his orchestral music, but he had an intimate side as well. And he wore his heart on his sleeve. This disc presents a cross-section of his music for that most intimate and expressive of vehicles, the string quartet, consisting of the Quartet in D (1904-07), Il tramonto (1914)--which sets Shelley's The Sunset as a "lyric poem" for mezzo-soprano and string quartet--and the Quartetto dorico of 1924, the year Respighi's most famous work, Pines of Rome, received its premiere. Respighi was an accomplished violinist and violist. From 1903 to 1908, he was a member of the Quartetto Mugellini, so he really knew how to write for string foursome. That facility is already apparent in the Quartet in D, as hedonistic a piece of chamber music as you are likely to find. The models are Borodin and Debussy--right down to the fact that this work, like the Debussy quartet, is cyclical in construction. The writing is almost too luxurious, too tender, too heart-on-the-sleeve for its own good. It's the work of a young man, but my ... what a knockout! Il tramonto is a little 15-minute scena decked out in the lush harmonies and agitated rhythms of Puccinian arioso. It's quite an effective pairing of voice and strings, and Respighi's treatment of the text shows that he possessed a natural feeling for drama. The Quartetto dorico, by contrast, is leaner and more astringent, one of those forays into the antique style that characterized Respighi's later output. The influence of Gregorian chant is apparent in the quartet's unison opening theme in the Dorian mode (hence the work's title), and the writing is superbly accomplished--vivid and varied, yet tightly constructed and thematically unified. A masterpiece. The Brodsky Quartet gives top-drawer accounts of all three pieces, distinguished by superb intonation and ensemble, a marvelous feel for Respighi's musical language, and warm expressiveness throughout. Anne Sofie von Otter makes a stylish contribution to Il tramonto, her singing restrained yet telling. The recording is exceptionally well engineered and gets top marks for detail, atmosphere, and immediacy. --Ted Libbey

1 comment:

theblueamos said...

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