on 11 April 2013
Anyone familiar with the work of Borodin will immediately recognise the gentle musicality that is his hallmark. This is music to embrace. First performed in St Petersburg in 1880 the A major quartet has something of the 'the Russian soul' - a kind of melancholy wistfulness - pervading it. Not that the music is in any way depressing, just that it is full of reflective tranquillity, built around long, singing melodies. The second movement in particular has this feel; perfect for enjoying beside a flickering log fire on a winter evening. That flickering feeling is also present in the Scherzo, while the last movement bustles to a conclusion.
The D major quartet was written two years later and is far more familiar. The well-known Notturno third movement is perhaps Borodin's most played music, and that same lyrical quality pervades the whole work. From the outset Borodin weaves tapestries of beautiful melody back and forth through the instruments. It may not be profound or challenging but it is sublime and somehow life-affirming.
Throughout both works the Haydn Quartet play with warmth and understanding, drawing out the rich warmth of the music. Tempi are well chosen and their articulation is clear. Whether this music is new to you or whether you know every note this is a recording to be recommended, as well as being the usual Naxos good value. Put another log on the fire, close your eyes and float away.
on 31 July 2012
Just to add my own recommendation of this thoroughly enjoyable disc, which I've owned and loved for over ten years. Not only is the famous Second Quartet as good a perfomance as any, the less well-known First Quartet is the best recording of the work that I've ever heard. Good recording, too.
on 7 December 2012
I had convinced myself that I did not know Borodin's work at all. Yes, I had heard of him but could I remember any of his music. Nope - well, not until I played this CD and the melodies, once heard, came flooding back. Great experience I would be happy to share with you - so go now and buy it!
on 30 June 2013
I really liked this CD recording which delivered both Quartets in an accessible and well balanced style. The interpretation and delivery of any of Borodin's works is not always going to be everyone's cup of tea but, for me, this recording hit the spot. The fact that the CD is also good value makes it definite worthwhile purchase.
on 3 May 2010
Brodin's String Quartets would appear to be under-rated by many people (including reviewers)since I had quite a task to locate a CD. BBC Music Magazine said they would do some research to find a copy. In the meantime I looked on Amazon, and found one in ten minutes. Well done, Amazon.