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Dvorak: String Quartet Op.96; Smetana: String Quartet No.1 Hybrid SACD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Dvorak: String Quartet Op.96; Smetana: String Quartet No.1
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Product details

  • Conductor: .
  • Composer: Dvorak, Smetana
  • Audio CD (29 April 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: harmonia mundi
  • ASIN: B00A6U5BNK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,088 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

HMF 807429; HARMONIA MUNDI - Francia; Classica da camera

Review

Does the Tokyo s superb playing of Dvorak s American lack the authentic Czech bite the heartache of the Lento, the open-air flavour of the finale s barn dance, the sweet influences of the Iowa landscape that made Dvorak more completely himself, releasing some inner spring? Is the sound too rich? Is the rubato in Smetana s polka second movement a shade self-conscious? Perhaps. But the playing is so fine, the glow of the four Stradivarius instruments so beautiful, such doubts hardly register. What matters is that these musicians perform the music con amore. The tragic conclusion of the Smetana the onset of his deafness is devastating. --David Cairns, The Sunday Times 12 May 2013

Two magnificent four-part, four-way miniaturisations of mental and physical immensity, executed with single-minded brilliance ... It s a perfect way for the Tokyo Quartet to end, with their version of an unlikely, exploratory beginning [New World Symphony]. And then, their enlightened, plangent version of a defiant ending: Smetana s impassioned autobiographical compression of a life that was breaking down reflects their own story, their experienced commitment to how a great, liquid string quartet transmitted with vim and sensitivity can symbolise a whole existence, the introspection, the exuberance, the pleasure, the pain, the panic, the peace of mind, and the poignant fading into silence that inevitably follows all the dazzling, joyous, forward-looking life and energy. --Sinfini Music, May 13

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording, made in 2006, is described as the Tokyo Quartet's valedictory recording. They have now retired after a very successful and lengthy career but with a discography that is relatively sparse compared to other groups of similar duration. Collectors of this ensemble will be sad to see them retire but can be assured that this recording is of an entirely appropriate high quality in every respect.

The disc is marketed as an hybrid SACD and as such it can be played by conventional CD players in stereo or as surround sound for those with the amplification and SACD player. The surround sound option offers the best sound, being very realistic and involving. The stereo only option is perfectly capable of competing with the best of stereo alternatives. The actual sound is sumptuous in nature and there is no hint of aural abrasiveness which can afflict recordings of string quartets.

The Dvorak is a very fine performance with plenty of lyrical focus throughout but underpinned by a tight rhythmical hold which gives dramatic bite. This is addition to the more obvious folk elements of the piece. The third movement has a nice lilt but it is the final movement which really grabs the attention in that respect with a pace that absolutely dances and carries all before it in an irrepressible drive.

The Smetana shares many of the same characteristics and the dance element is never far from the fore especially in the earlier parts of the quartet. Nevertheless the work has a less pronounced folk element than the Dvorak's quartet and this must be seen as a serious reflection of the problems that Smetana was having with his deteriorating hearing at the time of writing the quartet. The title 'From my Life' leaves the listener in no doubt as to the intention behind this composition.
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 17 Sept. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a long-time devotee of this quartet, I knew I had to have this. Quite why this 2006 recording was kept back only eventually to be released as a valedictory celebration before their disbandment and retirement after so many years, is a mystery to me, but I nonetheless welcome its appearance. I reviewed in glowing terms their previous release of the Brahms quintets with Jon Nakamatsu on piano, made in 2011, and had no reason to expect anything other than another triumph; so it proves.

Obviously the supremacy of their instruments, the famous "Paganini Quartet" of Stradivarius instruments, partially explains the depth and resonance of their sound but that only partly accounts for the special beauty, homogeneity and flawless intonation of this justly renowned quartet; they are simply terrific artists of impeccable musicality and taste. The coupling is hardly original but played this well, it's a recommendation safe as houses to any budding or seasoned collector. I still await the re-release for the first time on CD of their exceptional K.465, which I have obtained privately, expertly transferred from LP, but meanwhile this is as good as any introduction to the Tokyo's art.

Some musicians mellow too much and lose their edge or drive as they age, but I hear no slackening here: the Smetana is as sharp and driven as you could wish, as Dvorak's "furiants", but the old aureate tone is still very much in evidence when they caress the plaintive Slovakian folk melodies. Wonderful playing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am truly enchanted and very moved by this recording of the American String Quartet of Dvorak and the Smetana String Quartet.
A very passionate but at the same time sober and mature performance by one of the greatest string quartets that has been around.
This recording is a worthy farewell present by the Tokyo String Quartet. The fact that the recording is (hybrid) SACD only adds to the pleasure of listening to it over and over again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another golden pair 17 Sept. 2013
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a long-time devotee of this quartet, I knew I had to have this. Quite why this 2006 recording was kept back only eventually to be released as a valedictory celebration before their disbandment and retirement after so many years, is a mystery to me, but I nonetheless welcome its appearance. I reviewed in glowing terms their previous release of the Brahms quintets with Jon Nakamatsu on piano, made in 2011, and had no reason to expect anything other than another triumph; so it proves.

Obviously the supremacy of their instruments, the famous "Paganini Quartet" of Stradivarius instruments, partially explains the depth and resonance of their sound but that only partly accounts for the special beauty, homogeneity and flawless intonation of this justly renowned quartet; they are simply terrific artists of impeccable musicality and taste. The coupling is hardly original but played this well, it's a recommendation safe as houses to any budding or seasoned collector. I still await the re-release for the first time on CD of their exceptional K.465, which I have obtained privately, expertly transferred from LP, but meanwhile this is as good as any introduction to the Tokyo's art.

Some musicians mellow too much and lose their edge or drive as they age, but I hear no slackening here: the Smetana is as sharp and driven as you could wish, as Dvorak's "furiants", but the old aureate tone is still very much in evidence when they caress the plaintive Slovakian folk melodies. Wonderful playing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb end to a distinguished career from this fine group of players and presented in superb sound 7 Jan. 2015
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording, made in 2006, is described as the Tokyo Quartet's valedictory recording. They have now retired after a very successful and lengthy career but with a discography that is relatively sparse compared to other groups of similar duration. Collectors of this ensemble will be sad to see them retire but can be assured that this recording is of an entirely appropriate high quality in every respect.

The disc is marketed as an hybrid SACD and as such it can be played by conventional CD players in stereo or as surround sound for those with the amplification and SACD player. The surround sound option offers the best sound, being very realistic and involving. The stereo only option is perfectly capable of competing with the best of stereo alternatives. The actual sound is sumptuous in nature and there is no hint of aural abrasiveness which can afflict recordings of string quartets.

The Dvorak is a very fine performance with plenty of lyrical focus throughout but underpinned by a tight rhythmical hold which gives dramatic bite. This is addition to the more obvious folk elements of the piece. The third movement has a nice lilt but it is the final movement which really grabs the attention in that respect with a pace that absolutely dances and carries all before it in an irrepressible drive.

The Smetana shares many of the same characteristics and the dance element is never far from the fore especially in the earlier parts of the quartet. Nevertheless the work has a less pronounced folk element than the Dvorak's quartet and this must be seen as a serious reflection of the problems that Smetana was having with his deteriorating hearing at the time of writing the quartet. The title 'From my Life' leaves the listener in no doubt as to the intention behind this composition. In this particular performance the dramatic nature of the piece is made very clear without losing sight of the lyrical and dancing folk elements. Even so, the precise point where Smetana illustrates the high sound in his ear that he was constantly experiencing and that eventually would result in his complete deafness still comes as a shock. It is that awareness of the drama behind the piece that marks this performance out.

This disc marks a superb end to a distinguished career from this fine group of players. It benefits from excellent sound, particularly when heard in full SACD surround mode, and deserves to be considered very seriously for those for whom the coupling is attractive. Collectors of the Tokyo Quartet recordings will not need to hesitate.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb SACD Performances by Tokyo Quartet of These Famous Works 12 Aug. 2015
By Hannibal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a winner! - The fabulous Tokyo String Quartet bring to life Dvorak's great "American" Quartet as the sublime masterpiece that it is, adored by audiences around the world, in exquisite SACD sound. And it is coupled with Smetana's popular 1st string quartet, "From My Life," also done to a fare thee well.

If you're looking for an up-to-date recording of these two famous works, I dare say you will not be disappointed when you hear this. A must-buy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Sept. 2015
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great audio outstanding
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