Danish String Quartet, The - Prism I - Bach, J S

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Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen: violin
Frederik Øland: violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard: viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin: violoncello

For its third ECM release, the Danish String Quartet – hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the best quartets before the public today” and as simply “terrific” by The Guardian – inaugurates a series of albums with the overarching title of Prism, in which the group will present one of Beethoven’s late string quartets in the context of a related fugue by J.S. Bach as well as a linked masterwork from the quartet literature. With Prism 1, it is the first of Beethoven’s late quartets, his grand Op. 127 in E-flat Major, alongside Bach’s luminous fugue in the same key (arranged by Mozart) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s final string quartet, No. 15 in E-flat minor, a haunted and haunting sequence of six adagios.

For Prism 1, the DSQ convened at the Reitstadel in Neumarkt, Germany, the group applying its lyricism and spirit of ensemble to this interconnected sound world of Bach, Beethoven and Shostakovich. Bach’s fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 876, was one of five pieces that Mozart transcribed for string quartet from his predecessor’s epochal collection of preludes and fugues, The Well-Tempered Clavier. Like Mozart, Beethoven also revered Bach and studied The Well-Tempered Clavier closely, his playing of its pieces noted in press reports on the young performer. Beethoven’s five late string quartets were his ultimate statement in music; the first three of these late quartets were commissioned by a Russian prince, in 1822. Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets constitute the greatest cycle of such works after Beethoven; the rarified example of the German’s late quartets was surely on the Russian composer’s mind as he completed his final – and longest and most intimate – work in the genre, in 1974, the year before his death.

The spacious grandeur of Beethoven’s late quartets and, in particular, their epically hymnal slow movements – including that of the Op. 127, marked Adagio, mon non troppo e molto cantabile – were an obvious, powerful influence on the adagios of Shostakovich’s final quartet. Reflecting on the impact of Beethoven’s late string quartets, the DSQ note that “they changed the game. Every composer after Beethoven had to consider these five works and somehow figure out how to carry on the torch. Beethoven had taken a fundamentally linear development from Bach and exploded everything into myriad colors, directions and opportunities.”
Artikelnummer ECM2561
Streckkod 0028948172672
Utgivningsdatum 2018-09-21
Kategori Klassiskt
Skivbolag ECM
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Danish String Quartet, The
Kompositörer Bach, J S
Shostakovich, Dmitry
Beethoven, Ludwig van
Disk: 1
1 Fugue in E-flat major, BWV 876
2 Elegy. Adagio
3 Serenade. Adagio
4 Intermezzo. Adagio
5 Nocturne. Adagio
6 Funeral March. Adagio molto
7 Epilogue. Adagio
8 Maestoso - Allegro
9 Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile
10 Scherzo. Vivace
11 Finale. Allegro
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