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CD Review

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

String Quartets

  • Quartet for Strings #2 in F Major, Op. 22
  • Quartet for Strings #3 in E minor, Op. 30
Brodsky Quartet
Brodsky Records BRD3500 77m DDD
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When Tchaikovsky decided to write his first String Quartet, chamber compositions were not so popular in Russia. The emphasis then was on orchestral and operatic music. Imagine the surprise when the composer unveiled this piece on 24th October 1871. It is a commendable work which gave proof of Tchaikovsky's ultimate knowledge of Haydn and Mozart, and which remained justly famous for its 'Andante Cantabile'

After this venture, the composer decided to write two further works in the genre, both more ambitious and expansive. String Quartets #2 and 3 were premièred within the next 5 years and are among the most striking works from Tchaikovsky's early period of maturity. Both are full of the ambivalent quality of this composer's character and surprises abound, such as the second's 'adagio' opening and the Third's highly contrasted finale. The Maestro's mastery of the chromatic and contrapuntal elements is also very evident.

The Brodsky Quartet takes their name from the famous violinist, Adolf Brodsky whose circle of friends included such immortals as Brahms, Grieg and obviously, Tchaikovsky. The cellist, Jacqueline Thomas reveals that when the ensemble came to study these quartets, they experienced a strong affinity with their namesake, and this is maybe one of the main reasons why these interpretations are so immediate, passionate and full of that Slavic flavour which is so uniquely appealing

The Brodsky's are a veteran quartet having been formed in 1972 and throughout the 33 years of their existence, they have performed over 2000 concerts worldwide, a testimony to their dedication and love for music. Richard Whitehouse's notes are also a strong plus for this CD, which at its affordable price, is all the more attractive.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech