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Ginastera: String Quartets CD


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Product details

  • Composer: Alberto Ginastera
  • Audio CD (1 Jun 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: NAXOS
  • ASIN: B0027DQHHS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,587 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: I. Allegro violento ed agitato 4:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: II. Vivacissimo 3:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: III. Calmo e poetico 8:06Album Only
Listen  4. String Quartet No. 1, Op. 20: IV. Allegramente rustico 3:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: I. Allegro rustico 6:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: II. Adagio angoscioso 5:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: III. Presto magico 3:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: IV. Libero e rapsodico 5:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26: V. Furioso 4:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: I. Contemplativo 7:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: II. Fantastico 4:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: III. Amoroso 6:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: IV. Drammatico 2:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. String Quartet No. 3, Op. 40: V. Di nuovo Contemplativo 4:26£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Quatuors à cordes n°1 op.20, n°2 op.26 & n°3 op.40 / Quatuor Enso - Lucy Shelton, soprano

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. McBeath on 25 Sep 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is an exciting CD of the three string quartets of one of the lesser known 20th century composers. Recorded in 2007 by the experienced Enso Quartet (and in the 3rd Quartet, accompanied by the fluid and clear singing of Lucy Shelton), the players capture the rhythms, attack, and dance (if you like), of modernist Argentinian classical music. This said, we are not thinking here of some Piazollan pastiche; Ginastera and the Enso Quartet are far too good for that sort of thing. In other words we have a full, clear, spirited set of performances of significant post-war chamber music from the remarkable budget label, Naxos.

As a kind of footnote, I can also recommend purchase of the Naxos 2006 recording of the complete Ginastera 'Cello and Piano'music by Mark Kosower and Jee-Won Oh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nobody TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Jan 2011
Format: Audio CD
Ginastera, so I gather, wrote his quartets to be performed by the Juilliard Quartet. He clearly had no worries about he technical capabilities of the performers and so wrote some fiendishly difficult music to play. The Enso Quartet are more than a match for these works - they seem to relish every challenge thrown at them and pass every test with flying colours. I would have liked to have heard a more idiomatic performance by the soprano in the third quartet but Lucy Shelton is certainly accomplished enough. All round this is a fantastic recording.

Then there's the small matter of the works themselves: if you like the chamber works of Bartok and Berg then you're going to love this. Chances are, even if they're not to your tastes, you'll immediately appreciate what finely accomplished, crafted and yet passionate works they are. These are first rate quartets that compare favourably with the best quartets of the twentieth century. Once again, I wonder why so much great music from South America gets overlooked.

Ginastera was clearly a big fan of Bela Bartok at his most intense. The first two quartets illustrate this particularly with their contrasts between fiery, folky dance rhythms and intense, reflective "night music" slow movements. The second is more freely dissonant than the first but Bartok's imprint is still very clear. The second is barely tonal, hence the link to Berg but the folk influences are still present.

The third is quite different and offers a complete break from tonality. There is a conscious nod to Schoenberg and his second quartet, with the inclusion of the soprano. Really this is a song cycle with one instrumental only movement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
MusicWeb International/ Sept 2009 6 Dec 2009
By String Quartet Fan - Published on Amazon.com
One of numerous missionary projects launched by Naxos is the promotion of the music of the leading 20th Century Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. Previous to this issue they have encompassed his complete piano and keyboard works, two piano concertos, complete works for cello and piano and a licensed reissue of his two early and famous cowboy ballets. The latter, in particular the suite drawn from the 1941 ballet Estancia Op.8 has become the piece and indeed the sound-world by which he is best known. That sound could best be described as a feral percussive toccata-like style in which wild folk-derived cross-rhythms are hurled with great force in displays of musical muscularity. It is viscerally exciting but represents only one element--and indeed often an early one--of Ginastera's art. In simplistic terms his musical career can be divided into three distinct phases; "Objective Nationalism" (1934-1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948-1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958-1983). They chart a gradual move away from an overtly Nationalistic/folk-based style to something more personal although with clearly Latin-American roots. Very neatly, each of his three String Quartets presented here fall into one of the periods and hence represent a self-contained over-view of his musical development...the performances here by the Enso Quartet from America are quite staggeringly brilliant. I don't think I have been so thrilled by the sound of a string quartet in a long time. These pieces could be a list of potential musical pot-holes with problems of intonation, ensemble, style, interpretation on every line. The Enso Quartet do not so much circumvent these problems as blaze their way through them as though they barely existed. It really is exceptionally fine quartet playing. The Juilliard Quartet were the premiere performers for the latter two quartets which probably explains why Ginastera felt there were no technical bounds--the Ensos are every bit their equal. My tiniest, inconsequential quibble is a recording that is fractionally close for my own personal taste but even this they turn to their favour with the closeness emphasising the earthy vigour of many of the passages as well as the accuracy of their playing.

The individual movement tempo descriptions are very telling--the String Quartet No. 1 Op. 20 opens with an Allegro violento ed agitato and ends with an Allegramente Rustico. But it would be quite wrong and misleading to characterize this music as though it were some kind of gymnastic high energy work out. For sure those movements are as exciting as anything in the quartet literature but I found the range of musical expression remarkable too. The strangely disquieting Presto Magico from the String Quartet No. 2 Op. 26 is a skittering night-scene full of disquieting sounds and rustlings--a half waking nightmare. For sure you can hear that Ginastera knows his Bartok but it's a nodding acquaintance and not at all plagiaristic. More interestingly, for the first time, in his use of a wide range of string effects from snaps to glissandi, I thought I heard the influence Ginastera had on his pupil Astor Piazzolla. By the time of the second quartet he was moving towards a form of 12-tone serialism. Please don't let that turn you away. Yes, he writes in a expressionist and dissonant style but by goodness it is expressive--there is nothing dry or academic here. The finale of the second quartet is his ultimate instrumental tour-de-force--a Furioso of blistering venom. Again the Enso Quartet play as though all the hounds of hell were chasing them--playing that threatens the very limit of technical possibility and yet miraculously they storm through exultantly.

After the first two quartets the third is strikingly different in many ways. Most obviously in its use of a soprano. To a degree I would have to say it is more a four movement song-cycle for soprano arranged around a instrumental Fantastico...the quartet provide a performance full of insight and imagination.

I have enjoyed the music of Ginastera greatly before I heard this disc but I consider this a revelation--showing as it does a range and compositional technique of which, in my ignorance, I was previously unaware. I find it hard to believe that these magnificent pieces could be performed better than they are here by the Ens' Quartet--seek out this group, they are clearly bound for greatness. One little foot-note; a particular quality of the ensemble that struck me as I listened was their tonal unanimity so how interesting to read that they play on a set of matched modern instruments made by London-based maker Nigel Harris: clearly magnificent instruments played to within an inch of their lives by superb musicians. If I could give this disc a standing ovation of one in my front room after listening to it I would!

String quartet playing of jaw-dropping prowess revealing masterpieces of the 20th century quartet literature.

Nick Barnard
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
MusicWeb International/ Sept 2009 6 Dec 2009
By String Quartet Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One of numerous missionary projects launched by Naxos is the promotion of the music of the leading 20th Century Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera. Previous to this issue they have encompassed his complete piano and keyboard works, two piano concertos, complete works for cello and piano and a licensed reissue of his two early and famous cowboy ballets. The latter, in particular the suite drawn from the 1941 ballet Estancia Op.8 has become the piece and indeed the sound-world by which he is best known. That sound could best be described as a feral percussive toccata-like style in which wild folk-derived cross-rhythms are hurled with great force in displays of musical muscularity. It is viscerally exciting but represents only one element--and indeed often an early one--of Ginastera's art. In simplistic terms his musical career can be divided into three distinct phases; "Objective Nationalism" (1934-1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948-1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958-1983). They chart a gradual move away from an overtly Nationalistic/folk-based style to something more personal although with clearly Latin-American roots. Very neatly, each of his three String Quartets presented here fall into one of the periods and hence represent a self-contained over-view of his musical development...the performances here by the Enso Quartet from America are quite staggeringly brilliant. I don't think I have been so thrilled by the sound of a string quartet in a long time. These pieces could be a list of potential musical pot-holes with problems of intonation, ensemble, style, interpretation on every line. The Enso Quartet do not so much circumvent these problems as blaze their way through them as though they barely existed. It really is exceptionally fine quartet playing. The Juilliard Quartet were the premiere performers for the latter two quartets which probably explains why Ginastera felt there were no technical bounds--the Ensos are every bit their equal. My tiniest, inconsequential quibble is a recording that is fractionally close for my own personal taste but even this they turn to their favour with the closeness emphasising the earthy vigour of many of the passages as well as the accuracy of their playing.

The individual movement tempo descriptions are very telling--the String Quartet No. 1 Op. 20 opens with an Allegro violento ed agitato and ends with an Allegramente Rustico. But it would be quite wrong and misleading to characterize this music as though it were some kind of gymnastic high energy work out. For sure those movements are as exciting as anything in the quartet literature but I found the range of musical expression remarkable too. The strangely disquieting Presto Magico from the String Quartet No. 2 Op. 26 is a skittering night-scene full of disquieting sounds and rustlings--a half waking nightmare. For sure you can hear that Ginastera knows his Bartók but it's a nodding acquaintance and not at all plagiaristic. More interestingly, for the first time, in his use of a wide range of string effects from snaps to glissandi, I thought I heard the influence Ginastera had on his pupil Astor Piazzolla. By the time of the second quartet he was moving towards a form of 12-tone serialism. Please don't let that turn you away. Yes, he writes in a expressionist and dissonant style but by goodness it is expressive--there is nothing dry or academic here. The finale of the second quartet is his ultimate instrumental tour-de-force--a Furioso of blistering venom. Again the Enso Quartet play as though all the hounds of hell were chasing them--playing that threatens the very limit of technical possibility and yet miraculously they storm through exultantly.

After the first two quartets the third is strikingly different in many ways. Most obviously in its use of a soprano. To a degree I would have to say it is more a four movement song-cycle for soprano arranged around a instrumental Fantastico...the quartet provide a performance full of insight and imagination.

I have enjoyed the music of Ginastera greatly before I heard this disc but I consider this a revelation--showing as it does a range and compositional technique of which, in my ignorance, I was previously unaware. I find it hard to believe that these magnificent pieces could be performed better than they are here by the Enso Quartet--seek out this group, they are clearly bound for greatness. One little foot-note; a particular quality of the ensemble that struck me as I listened was their tonal unanimity so how interesting to read that they play on a set of matched modern instruments made by London-based maker Nigel Harris: clearly magnificent instruments played to within an inch of their lives by superb musicians. If I could give this disc a standing ovation of one in my front room after listening to it I would!

String quartet playing of jaw-dropping prowess revealing masterpieces of the 20th century quartet literature.

Nick Barnard
Fine Playing of Three Bracing Quartets 14 Dec 2014
By Steve Siegelbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wonderful, crisp playing by the Enso. Ginastera's quartets are original, dynamic, and infused with the rhythms of Argentina. Each of the three is quite distinct from the others, especially Quartet #3 with the wonderful soprano Lucy Shelton as a "fifth voice." Moreover, within each quartet, the considerable contrasts from movement to movement command and maintain the listener's attention. A must-have for anyone into 20th century string quartets.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Unknown masterpieces 27 Aug 2009
By Kevin Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Ginastera String Quartets are not well-known as standard twentieth century repertoire. More's the pity. These are masterful and excellent compositions, played with great clarity, energy and precision. In the line of the Bartok Quartets, but with a little more expansiveness, and the first two could be mistaken as models for the Michael Nyman String Quartets, while dating from 1948 and 1958 (revised in 1968).
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