Title - 'Brahms: String Quartet No. 2; Bartók: SQ No. 2'
Artist - Ariel Quartet
For those not in the know, the Ariel Quartet formed in Israel nearly twenty years ago when its members were middle-school students, the Quartet was recently awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award.
The Ariel serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University
of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the rigorous chamber music program and perform their own annual series of concerts in addition to their busy touring schedule.
Released this past March 16th, 2018 via Avie Records, the Ariel Quartet, distinguished by its virtuosic playing and impassioned interpretations, makes its debut recording, Brahms: String Quartet No. 2; Bartók: String Quartet No. 1, pairing two giants of the string-quartet world, Béla Bartók and Johannes Brahms.
Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 51, No. 2
1. I . Allegro non troppo
2. II. Andante moderato
3. III. Quasi Minuetto, moderato; Allegretto vivace
4. IV. Finale: Allegro non assai
Béla Bartok (1881 – 1945)
Quartet No. 1, Sz, 40 (Op. 7)
5. I. Lento
6. II. Allegretto Introduzione; Allegro
7. III. Allegro vivace
Total time: 65:43
Both composers stand as significant pillars of the youthful Quartet’s two-decade-long journey. Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria.
His reputation and status as a composer is such that he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the "Three Bs" of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer, pianist and an ethnomusicologist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century; he and Liszt are regarded as Hungary's greatest composers (Gillies 2001).
Through his collection and analytical study of folk music, he was one of the founders of comparative musicology, which later became ethnomusicology.
This release is the first in a projected series pairing the quartets of Bartók and Brahms. Which, on paper, let alone real life, might seem an odd pairing. On one hand you have Brahms' warm-textured late Romanticism, whilst on the other hand you have Bartók's lean-textured Modernism.
But, that said, it does work and how, for the Ariel Quartet approach both pieces with some rather spot on perfect, and precise detailing, always careful of keeping both sets of works brimming with singularity of expression.
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