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Taneyev: String Quartets 2, 4 CD

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Taneyev: String Quartets 2, 4 + Taneyev: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1 + Taneyev: Complete String Quartets Vol.3 [Carpe Diem Quartet] [Naxos: 8573010]
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1. String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 5 - Carpe Diem String Quartet
2. String Quartet No. 4 in A minor, Op. 11 - Carpe Diem String Quartet

Product Description

The Carpe Diem String Quartets first volume of Sergey Ivanovich Taneyevs string quartets (Nos. 1 & 3 8.570437) gained critical accolades both for the revival of this important repertoire and for the ensembles sensitive and assured interpretations. A gift to musicians and listeners in search of rewarding new repertoire, Taneyevs Second and Fourth String Quartets are masterfully crafted, the former piece possessing the inner energy of Beethoven, the latter being his most dramatic quartet. Both quartets impress with their unexpected harmonic combinations, wealth of ideas and mastery of form.

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ivy-T's Greatest Hits . . . 26 Jun 2011
By B.E.F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase

These chamber-works by S. I. Taneyev (aka `Ivy-T') are difficult to categorize.

At Moscow, Taneyev was piano pupil of Nikolai Rubinstein; he studied composition with Tchaikovsky--(indeed, he was the première soloist in Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto).

As a concert pianist, Taneyev frequently performed Brahms, and thereby we may perhaps hear Brahms's heavy influence in Taneyev's chamber music.
He also assiduously studied the counterpoint of Sebastien Bach, which in turn he rigourously employed in his own compositions.

One thing we may say is that Taneyev was not a great original melodist; rather, he worked out his music with great technical aplomb: in these aspects he most resembles Max Reger and Richard Strauss--indeed, the direct aural impact of Taneyev's music most resembles these aforementioned.

Taneyev's body of more-or-less completed 11 String Quartets is probably his most significant legacy to Russian music.

Whereas most of the Russian Romantic composers turned out at least two or three Quartets (viz., Borodin, Arensky, Glier, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov), Taneyev worked unremittingly in the genre: perhaps Dvorák strikes a good parallel with Taneyev in terms of sheer quantity of quartets; but essentially it is the quality of Taneyev's Quartets which is a gold-mine for enthusiasts to discover.

This is the second issue of Taneyev's Quartets by the Carpe Diem Quartet of Ohio Wesleyan U; and like those of the first, these performances are well executed and well recorded.

Other realizations of Taneyev's Quartets may be found on classic performances by the eponymous Taneyev Quartet issued on Northern Flowers label, etc. (apparently in the old Soviet Union the Taneyev Quartet was as well-known and respected as the Borodin Quartet).

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Some Closing Letdowns, but Excellent up to Then 8 Dec 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Other than the Concert Suite for Violin and Orchestra, I've not found Taneyev's orchestral music terribly good; the symphonies utterly bore me. In the realm of chamber music, however, I think he truly succeeds, and that reaction extends to this disc, part of a Naxos series of his complete string quartets, a series which appears to have stalled out after only two releases. This one features the Quartets Nos. 2 and 4, played competently if not that enthusiastically by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. A previous reviewer found the No. 2 to open brilliantly then falter until the finale. My reaction is rather different: I though the work sustained itself quite well until the final movement, which seemed a very weak closing link indeed. The Quartet No. 4 is darker in outlook, as that other reviewer also wrote, but here again I'd beg to respectfully differ about other reactions. I don't mind at all the contrast between the brooding opening movement and the "frivolous" scherzo that follows. And I don't hear the adagio that follows the scherzo as being too meandering. For me, however, the final movement again trips up the works, and I don't think Taneyev brought all the disparate elements of this work together in the last movement. That's frequently a difficult assignment for any closing movement in any form, though, and overall I enjoyed this disc. As I said at the outset, Taneyev has not engaged me in his larger scale works, but at the chamber level he's an accomplished and compelling -- if not great -- composer, and I certainly endorse this release as an example of that fact.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Russian Quartets 16 July 2011
By Tom J. Godell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Serge Ivanovich Taneyev studied composition with Tchaikovsky, but ultimately replaced his friend as a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. A virtuoso pianist, Taneyev gave the world premiers of Tchaikovsky's last two piano concertos, and he ultimately came to be regarded as Russia's greatest master of counterpoint. His students became legendary figures in Russian music: Scriabin, Gliere, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev. The latter reported that a sign was permanently affixed to his master's door which read, "Taneyev is not in!" The mischievous sense of humor manifested in that sign also permeates much of Taneyev's music. His catalog includes four symphonies, at least nine quartets, a bevy of other string chamber music, ethereally beautiful choruses, two powerful cantatas, and a stunning opera--much of it unpublished during the composer's lifetime. Naxos is recording the complete Quartets. This is volume two.

Quartet 2 opens with an impassioned allegro that's chock-full of memorable melodic material. The style is reminiscent of Tchaikovsky, but with far more complex counterpoint. Indeed, several hearings are needed to reveal the score's myriad mysteries. Alas, the remainder of the work fails to live up to the promise of this remarkable opening gambit. That may explain why this music--along with Quartet 4--has never come close to entering the chamber music repertory. That said, the finale is quite enjoyable, even in a performance as dry and deadpan as the Carpe Diem String Quartet's.

Quartet 4 is darker and more agitated than its discmate, as befitting a composition whose home key is A Minor. Although Taneyev was a pianist by trade, he knew how to write effectively for strings, which compensates somewhat for the lack of invention in his themes. The scherzo seems frivolous after the intensity of the opening, and the adagio meanders for over nine minutes without ever blossoming into a truly memorable experience. Again, the lively, light-hearted finale saves the day.

The CBSQ deserves kudos for rescuing this often-engaging music from total obscurity. Still, more passionate advocates would help these scores make a better impression, especially with listeners who may not already know this neglected composer. That said, they do provide a gripping performance of the first movement of Quartet 2, but elsewhere they play cautiously and with precious little Russian soul.

The best introduction to Taneyev is still his effervescent Symphony 4, which is available in a fine performance by the Novosibirsk Academic Symphony conducted by Thomas Sanderling on Naxos 8.572067. If you enjoy that music and the quartets of Tchaikovsky and Borodin you might want to sample this new disc.
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