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  • Borodin: Quartet No. 2; Smetana: Quartet No. 1 "From My Life"
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Borodin: Quartet No. 2; Smetana: Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" CD


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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Telarc Classical
  • ASIN: B000003CV4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,715 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Allegro Moderato
2. II. Scherzo
3. III. Notturno
4. IV. Finale
5. I. Allegro Vivo Appassionato
6. II. Allegro Moderato A La Polka
7. III. Largo Sostenuto
8. IV. Vivace

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

First a reservation: I'm not totally happy about the sound here (unusual for me with Telarc). It seems a bit bottom-heavy, so that the violins are handicapped and perhaps the blending suffers. Of course, it could partly be that the Clevelanders aren't the plushest of quartets . . . For whatever reason, I wasn't taken with the Borodin. It's lush melodies seem to require a richer tone, and the development of ideas isn't all that compelling. The Smetana is a different matter: one of the great quartets, and absolutely gripping in this performance. The variety of the material, the range of the dynamic variation, the moves from instrumental tuttis to individual lines that are haunting without being merely pretty -- to keep all that together and coherently moving forward, and bringing the listener's ear along with it is quite a feat, and the Clevelanders bring it off. The Lindsay Quartet on ASV are perhaps better recorded, but this version is just as compelling. Besides, this is a piece of music that you might want more than one version of.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Romantic String Quartet of Two Great Composers 6 July 2001
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is 57 minutes of beautiful, flowing string music composed by one Russian and the other Czech.
Wanting more of Borodin after long love affair with his Nocturne, I searched for a quality recording of the Quartet in No. 2. This Cleveland Quartet recording is clear and played on a matched set of Stradivarius instruments once belonging to Paganini.
Borodin is remarkable individual, who worked productively in both fields of chemistry and music. This quartet no. 2 was dedicated to his wife in honor of their 20th anniversary. No wonder many of us find this music no hauntingly romantic.
Smetana has long been of interest to me, now I enjoy this quartet as well. He supposedly composed this as his personal response to life's tragedy for him, which declined to deafness and insanity. It was a programmatic movement, from the opening youthful mood to the second (a polka) of youthful dancing, to the largo of first love, to the haunting Finale, a lengthy holding high pitched note, which reminded him of the oncoming deafness. Interesting that in first private performance, Dvorak performed the viola part.
Will get much play from me. Delightful stuff!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and Romantic Mush 7 Mar. 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
For anyone seeking the very romantic string quartet music, this is the perfect CD-- romantic almost to the brink of schmaltz, yet irresistibly lyrical. The Borodin is a fluffy soufflé, rich and sugary. You may know the Nocturne as "And This is My Beloved" from Kismet. Certainly, it may be over-the-top romanticism, and my better half says, "resist!" yet I find myself indulging it in again and again.
Smetana's quartet is one of the few programmatic sting quartets. In it, he musically depicts various events from his life-- his romantic moods, his love of dancing (embodied in the polka of the second movement), his first love, and, in the finale, the deafness which began to appear when he was 50 years old.
The Cleveland quartet's performance of these works is splendid-- nice and clean, and they don't overdo the schmaltz. The only better way to experience this music is to hear it played live in a dimly lit cafe while sipping an espresso and nibbling a croissant.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Classic Delights. 27 Mar. 2002
By D. Seymour - Published on Amazon.com
The Borodin begins the program with an awkwardly cascading melody that eventually weaves its way among all the parts swelling like a creek until it reaches a serenly quiet pool. Robert Wright and George Forrest manipulated the Scherzo and Notturno into "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" & "And This Is My Beloved" for their 1953 musical Kismet. Borodin's gifted melodies are just as stellar in their original form. The romantic and lilting Scherzo is like a champagne toast. The yearning Notturno develops a perfectly balanced echo before the emphatic finale. Smetana's quartet is by far more polished than the Borodin in both arrangement and technical prowess. The plaintive opening leads into the "serious" second movement polka. The weighty Largo finally concedes to the unison joys of the Vivace finale. The two quartets complement each other marvelously. Don't let the dreary cover illustration fool you, these romantic quartets would be comfortable at any black-tie gathering.
very good smetana 8 Feb. 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
First a reservation: I'm not totally happy about the sound here (unusual for me with Telarc). It seems a bit bottom-heavy, so that the violins are handicapped and perhaps the blending suffers. Of course, it could partly be that the Clevelanders aren't the plushest of quartets . . . For whatever reason, I wasn't taken with the Borodin. Its lush melodies seem to require a richer tone, and the development of ideas isn't all that compelling. The Smetana is a different matter: one of the great quartets, and absolutely gripping in this performance. The variety of the material, the range of the dynamic variation, the moves from instrumental tuttis to individual lines that are haunting without being merely pretty -- to keep all that together and coherently moving forward, and bringing the listener's ear along with it is quite a feat, and the Clevelanders bring it off. The Lindsay Quartet on ASV are perhaps better recorded, but this version is just as compelling. Besides, this is a piece of music that you might want more than one version of.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Forget the Borodin, it's all about Smetana! 28 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I'm sorry to say, but I absolutely cannot stand Borodin's music, particularly his chamber music. THat aside, the Cleveland Quartet does a beautiful interpretation of this awful quartet; they actually make that piece tolerable.
However, for those of you who like the Borodin (I'm unsure why :-)...you'll love it.
Bad bit aside, the Smetana is absolutely brilliant. It is a wonderful programmatic piece of chamber music written by an amazing (yet underrated) composer - it really is a little known gem. And the performance of it is spectacular - they truly do bring out the rich Romanticism that is present in all of Smetana's works.
So, buy this for the Smetana - you will not regret it!
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