The only version of Op. 106 I had was the Lindsays, which I don't like much - it's quite exciting, but, for me, lacking in beauty.
BBC Radio 3 'building a library' recently pickled out the Pavel Haas as the best version of Op. 106. They have the excitement and drive of the Lindsay's, but also sound very beautiful in the slow passages. The Pavel Haas version of the 'American' is also worth the purchase, but not as convincing as Op.106. For me, the Lindsays are slightly better in the 'American'.
In seeking out the Pavel Haas on Amazon I spotted the Stamitz set for a ridiculously low price and bought that instead! But I found their versions of Op. 106 and Op.96 lacking the excitement and intensity of the Pavel Haas, while the Pavel Haas match them in beauty.
So, in the end , I had to get the Pavel Haas CD. Their mix of dynamism and beauty is not to be missed in Op. 106. If you are tempted to seek out more Dvorak string quartets, try the Stamitz if you value languid beauty above rip-roaring excitement.
This recording from 2010 is one of a number of recordings by the young Pavel Haas Quartet to receive many accolades of approval from a number of prestigious sources. They are clearly one of the outstanding quartets of the present times and even a casual listening to this disc will excite more concentrated listening.
What comes over immediately is the sheer technical accomplishment of the group in terms of accuracy of intonation as well as a meticulous attention to a wide range of dynamics. The performances are high octane in their dramatic delivery and their playing correspondingly creates a good deal of excitement for the listener.
These are two late quartets from Dvorak and date from his American experiences and the music reflects those influences. However, it is also true to say that Dvorak's awareness and assimilation of the dance element of his native homeland is never far away. One would expect this group of players from Dvorak's homeland to naturally reflect this major element of Dvorak's musical language with an in-built 'lilt' to the music making. That is the one element that seems to have been side-lined in the emphasis on all the admirable characteristics of their playing as mentioned above. To check on this impression a quick comparison with another quartet group, the Vlach Quartet, made the difference clear.
These new recordings deserve all the praise that has been lavished upon them and fully deserve the five star ratings to be found in numerous reviews, including this one. Nevertheless, these are early days so far as collections go, and it may well be that over time, this pair of recordings may be ones to justly admire and respect and certainly to buy, but there may be others that collectors may prefer to love. If that proves to be the case, it will be because of the need for a little more 'lilt' and 'dance' to constantly remind us that those folk elements were a loved ingredient that informed the composer's artistic creations.
In summary therefore, these are impressive and exciting readings that may eventually be admired more than loved in future years. Time will tell.
This disc has won the gramaphone award and once you've listened to it you'll understand why. The disc couples two of Dvorak's later string quartets, the well known "American" no.12 with it's wonderful slow movement and no.13 in G. I bought this disc because I love Dvorak's chamber music and I wasn't disappointed. It's not just the quality of Dvorak's writing (though that in itself would be justification for this purchase) but it's the sublime playing of the exciting Pavel Haas Quartet that makes you want to listen again and again. Just as a footnote, the disk is also superbly packaged with a colourful and informative booklet.
Heard them last week at the Wigmore in Czech music with an unforgettable encore of the slow movement of the Dvorak American. Bought this disk and it in now way disappoints. Watch out particularly for the wonderful cellist. Fab sound from supraphon - great balance and positioning of the 4 players with no over-miking.
First class string playing.Tempo generally very good and steady instead of unecessary rapid tempos so often heard these days by players showing off their technical skills to the detriment of the music.
I discovered the Pavel Haas Quartet when they were the BBC's New Generation Artists, and I was amazed with their inspired and astounding performances - especially Janacek. I am in no doubt that this group of young musicians is the best I have ever heard, and their interpretations of the most demanding quartet music is unsurpassed.They have recorded three CDs and these are essential additions to the collections of all serious chamber music enthusiasts.