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Arensky: Quartet No.1 Op.11/ Quartet No.2 Op.35/ Piano Quintet Op.51 CD

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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Anton Arensky
  • Audio CD (26 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: SONO LUMINUS
  • ASIN: B005MJDVXM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,107 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Digital Booklet: Arensky: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 - Piano Quintet
Digital Booklet: Arensky: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 - Piano Quintet
Album Only

Product Description

Sono Luminus is proud to be a part of the Ying Quartets commitment to expanding the rich string quartet repertoire with their latest release, Anton Arensky. Chamber music fans may be familiar with Arenskys beautiful and exciting Piano Trio No. 1. Arenskys chamber music writing shows off some of his greatest strengths as a composer, and throughout his trios, quartets and quintet, his music is consistently lyrical, expressive, rich, and often brilliant. Because of Arenskys close relationship with Tchaikovsky, the release makes an intriguing follow-up to the Ying Quartets earlier GRAMMY®-nominated record, Tchaikovsky: Three String Quartets And Souvenir de Florence Sextet In D Minor. Arensky actually composed two versions of his String Quartet No. 2. One of them is scored for traditional string quartet, and the other is scored for violin, viola and 2 cellos. The musical material in both versions is identical, but by examining the different compositional solutions Arensky arrived at for each ensemble, one can appreciate all the more his imagination for color and the facility of his writing. In the two-cello version, Arensky takes full advantage of the additional depth and fullness possible with two bass instruments; the opening of the Quartet sounds especially rich like low voices chanting together. On the other hand, the paired violins of traditional quartet instrumentation allow many of the lyrical passages to soar and sing out in a higher range. The string quartet version of the Second Quartet is represented on this record, of course, and is in fact the less frequently performed version. For the Piano Quintet in D Major Op. 51, Arensky makes full use of the increased resonance, volume, and virtuosic possibilities of adding a piano to the string quartet. This is full-blooded, passionate, and singing music that perfectly captures the spirit of Russian music of the second half of the 19th century. Ying Quartet revels in the way Arensky writes uncomplicated sweeps of emotion that arrest a listener from the first notes of the Quintet to the reprise of the same music 25 minutes later that closes the work as warmly and triumphantly as it opens. In between, there are moments of great subtlety and detail, from the expressive range of the theme and variations slow movement to the bustling scherzo. The Quartet is joined by their colleague and friend, Adam Neiman, who himself has recently made a recorded exploration of Arenskys solo piano works. The Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music genre, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in todays world. Now in its second decade as a quartet, the Quartet has established itself as an ensemble of the highest musical qualifications in its tours across the United States and abroad. This recording of Anton Arensky is the sophomore release from Ying Quartet on the Sono Luminus label following their previous release, Ying Quartet Plays LifeMusic III (DSL-92114).

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These are splendidly vital performances of Arensky's two string quartets and his piano quintet, works which have languished somewhat in the shadows of his more popular piano trios. All three of them are rather concise works, with relatively short finales adding to that impression, and each of them at some point introduces a "theme and variations" movement (a recurring feature in his instrumental works, both chamber and orchestral). The idiom is conservative and conventional - there are no attempts to break new ground either structurally or harmonically - but the levels of invention and craftsmanship are generally high and consistent.

Nationalist elements aren't perhaps as prominent as one might expect from a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov but that's probably because even the earliest work here, the first quartet of 1888, hails from the period of his post-graduation removal to the Moscow Conservatory where he found the more cosmopolitan tendencies of his fellow staff such as Tchaikovsky and Taneyev better suited to his artistic tastes. The finale of the first quartet is a notable exception, based on a Russian folk tune and including pizzicato evocations of the balalaika during its course, and I also wondered whether the introduction to the second quartet's opening 'Moderato' quoted from or was intended to suggest the Russian Orthodox liturgy for the dead. If so, it would be appropriate as the work was written in memory of Tchaikovsky; the central movement is a set of variations on a theme of Tchaikovsky's, most frequently heard nowadays in its string orchestral version. It is played here with style and adroitness in the faster variations but with appropriate sensitivity too in the slower sections.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING! 8 Nov. 2011
By gracefulghost - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have searched long and hard for a good recording of the Arensky quartets and nothing comes close to the brilliance of this recording. Although Quartet No. 2 is originally for two cellos, violin and viola, it does not lose any of its' merit in a traditional string quartet arrangement. The incredible fusion of the quartet's sound makes up for any momentary lacking of not having that extra cello. Hopefully this CD will bring more attention to these beautiful Arensky Quartets!
The Ying quartet is absolutely phenomenal. More recordings please!!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a really nice coincidence. 18 Feb. 2015
By Miriam A. Bishop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I adore this CD. And, I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that it was made by a group with ties to Winchester, VA, which is just up the road from us, and was made in a music studio just up the street. It was a really nice coincidence.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 13 Nov. 2011
By Racello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you've already listened to the samples, I can't believe you haven't bought this album yet. Do it! You wont regret it :) Fantastic music played by some seriously inspiring musicians.
1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arensky is good 4 Jan. 2013
By Martin Pitchon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
But you cannot compare him to Tchaikovsky, the real master. I bought this in order to complete my collection. I could live without it.
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