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Dvorak: String Quartets (Complete)

Dvorak: String Quartets (Complete)

1 Sep 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Sept. 2001
  • Release Date: 4 July 2013
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • Copyright: Brilliant Classics
  • Total Length: 10:17:14
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00DXVZBQQ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,222 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Before buying this and the 2 volume set of chamber works, I had only his violin and double (violin and 'cello) concertos and wanted to get to know more about Dvorak and his music. This is a wonderful set and the works well performed. The only one I already knew was the "American" Quartet.. Well worth a listen to.
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Just to say that I'm very pleased with these recordings and glad to have them in my collection of chamber music.
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This set contains not only the 13 numbered string quartets, but also the 72 minute D Major quartet with which the composer opened his account in this genre, and also two abandoned string quartet movements, SQ arrangements of 12 of the Liebeslieder, 2 waltzes for SQ and the Terzet for 2 Violins and Viola. All packaged in a slim box.
The booklet is detailed, though some of the awkward and occassionaly strained language suggests a poor translation.
The performances a of a high standard and sympathetic to the works. It is possible to hear the development of Dvorak's style in these works, which span most of his career. Some of the early works, especially that massive D Major opener, suffer slightly from over-ambition, but the quality of music here is consistently high.
The sound is very good. All of this so little money! If you love either string quartets or Dvorak then what are you waiting for? This set is pretty much a "must have" item. And it only takes up just over an inch of shelf space.
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If asked to name the string quartets of Dvorak I suppose that a lot of average fans of classical music, like myself, would think of the Opus 96 quartet called the 'American' and then be hard pushed to think of another. To find that there are 14 in total was a great suprise to me. To then find that the set contains such simply wonderful music was another suprise. It is a shame that they do not appear to be performed as often as they merit it. To mention just a few of the works: the Opus 2 in A major is a gloriously sunny and joyous piece; the andante religiouso of the Opus 10 is sublime; I was delighted with the complete set of 'Cypresses' (the quartet version of an earlier set of songs) which I had only ever heard parts of before; and the Opus 106 is terrific (apologies for the complex musicological language of my descriptions!). I love string quartet music and I too would urge everyone else who does to add this magnificent set to their collection - you will not be disappointed.
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 July 2011
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Unless things have changed in recent years, Dvorak's string quartets have had very selective treatment from concert planners. Specifically in my experience, the last three quartets turn up regularly, and usually without a series-number attached to them that might draw attention to the fact that there are actually 14 full-dress 4-movement efforts together with a few bits and pieces. You may be as surprised as I was to find that the whole corpus takes up 10 discs, although it's true that a couple of the discs only last 40-odd minutes.

Please do not take the expression `bits and pieces' as dismissive or derogatory. What they consist of is (a) two stranded single movements, (b) a quartet arrangement of a dozen of his songs from an early song-cycle `Cypresses', and (c) two of his popular waltzes, again in a quartet arrangement of his own. In addition there is his Tercet for the three higher strings, something I also know on cd from a delightful disc by the Lindsays along with the Bagatelles with harmonium. So far as I can understand the liner note here, what we are given is the simplified version of the Tercet, and I think that is what the Lindsays provide too (if I could understand their liner note either.) While on the topic of the liner note, I found it helpful for understanding the place of the various quartets in the composer's biography and musical development. It reads like a slightly clumsy translation, there are some odd misprints such as a frightening-sounding key of `E sharp major' at one point (which I think should be A flat), the remarks on the music itself are rather nondescript, but it comes up with the goods where I wanted them.
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One of the most tuneful composers Dvoraks string quartets are brimming with beautiful music. I don't know if technically these are good performances but they seemed fine to me and played with conviction. There was time to savour the music and the recordings are warm but clear.
At this price it's impossible not to recomend this set if you like string quartets and/or the music of Dvorak.
I think the Brilliant box set of the Dvorak Chamber Music could be next.
Dvorák - Complete String Quartets
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By A Customer on 15 Feb. 2004
Format: Audio CD
This set of the Dvorak string quartets is absolutely lovely. I already have the complete quartets recorded by the Prague String Quartet in the 1970,s. Those are probably the finest renditions of these quartets. However, in some of the quartets the Prague can be a bit clinical in their approach, and some of their tempis can lose a little of the romance that lies at the heart of Dvorak's music. The Stamitz does not have the technical brilliance of the Prague, nor their cache, but their tempis are a little slower, and they have a very rich, melow and warm sound that really brings out extra qualities from these works. This is enhanced by superb recordings, which emphasises the blending that the Stamitz achieves between the instruments. My recommendation to anyone who loves the music of Dvorak and whose budget can stretch a little further is to have both the Prague and the Stamitz. That way whatever your mood, you'll get the best of both worlds. If it has to be a choice of one or the other, I think you'll have to read more reviews!!
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