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Grieg: String Quartets Nos. 1 And 2 / Johansen: String Quartet Op. 35

Grieg: String Quartets Nos. 1 And 2 / Johansen: String Quartet Op. 35

1 août 2006

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5 5 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A NICE CHANGE 12 janvier 2014
Par DAVID BRYSON - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
This disc gives us over 70 minutes of pleasant and interesting music that we don’t get many opportunities to hear. The performances were recorded in 1993, which reminds us if we needed reminding that Naxos don’t only deal in reissues. I may as well say at the beginning of this review what I usually say at the end, namely that the musical public owe a deep debt of thanks and appreciation to Naxos for their steady work in providing us with good and sometimes unusual music at modest cost.

Grieg completed one string quartet, and got as far as an opening movement and a scherzo for a second. The incomplete effort seems to me particularly interesting for its first movement. This shows greater continuity than its counterpart does in the g minor quartet, as if Grieg was getting the hang more of the way in which the Viennese masters put a first movement together. The ‘main’ quartet is the Grieg we know and love: he starts off with a few big heroic gestures, but these come to a dead stop after which he trots out one of his cute little tunes. The other movements make no pretence of being anything but lightweight, but the slow movement in particular is a real charmer. The ‘filler’ is a short 4-movement quartet by the 20th century figure David Monrad Johansen, and I’m not sure I had ever heard any of his work up until now. It is recognisably 20th century in idiom but not aggressively so, and firmly tonal in harmony although Johansen does not specify its key centre.

The performers are the Oslo Quartet, whose work I have got to know only recently but have been mightily impressed by. I recently came by their record of a quartet and quintet by Grieg’s contemporary and compatriot Svendsen. That particular issue is one that I recommend cordially to anyone interested in music of this type, not least because it is outstandingly well recorded. On this disc the recorded quality is good without being exactly outstanding, but if it had been far less good I still think I would have wanted the set for the music and the quality of the playing.

In the usual Naxos way there is liner comment on the music together with notes on the players. The main essay is in English with German and French versions in addition. I found it interesting and helpful, and I should not close without expressing appreciation also to the Union Bank of Norway who have sponsored this excellent production.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A fine release 25 mai 2009
Par G.D. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Edvard Grieg wrote his only completed string quartet in 1877-78, a work which is apparently partially autobiographical. The slow first movement introduction is based on an Ibsen-setting concerning a musician meditating on life and his beloved while walking along a stream on a summer evening (although I have to admit that I hear more of a stream on a summer evening than existential meditations on life and love). The theme is then transformed into a second theme in an allegro molto - familiar from the piano concerto and recurring throughout the work, laying the foundation for its cyclic structure; it interrupts the reflective second movement romanze and starts the intermezzo third movement as well as the last movement where it develops into a dance energetically moving towards an optimistic G major conclusion. The work as a whole is delightful, although not among Grieg's very best - more because the textures are somewhat opaque, revealing that Grieg cannot have been entirely comfortable with the idiom, than because of any shortcomings with respect to large-scale structures (which he is often, with some justification, accused of).

His next attempt, in F major from 1891, was aborted, but the two movements that exist are promising enough if not quite on the level of the g minor one. The first movement is full of interesting ideas but formally a little repetitive and unbalanced. The second scherzo movement is thoroughly enjoyable and inventive, however.

David Monrad Johansen's (1888-1974) string quartet proves to be an effective coupling. It, too, is based on Norwegian folk music, but is far more modern-sounding and mildly dissonant, and benefits much from effective use of counterpoint. The first movement is based on a rather dissonant opening motif which gives way to a heavily contrapuntal gentler passage. The second movement is a harmonically less adventuresome scherzo while the third movement Largo is again more acerbic and based on folk music scales and traditional polyphony. The final movement is an energetic dance interrupted by a more tranquil contrapuntal passage - these two elements alternate, and the movement ends in an agitato transformation of the opening motto from the first movement. It is overall a very interesting and resourceful work that certainly deserves a listen.

The performances by the Oslo String Quartet are generally impressive (if not quite on the level of their later performances of the Nielsen quartets), intimately expressive and able to bring out the subtle colorations and shades in all three works, lively and sprightly if slightly rough at the edges at times. I have to say that the dynamic range sounds somewhat limited as well, and one can imagine somewhat bigger gestures and bolder strokes in the music-making (I have to admit that my experience with alternative performances is limited, though), although I don't on the whole think anyone will go seriously amiss with these versions. Sound quality is more than decent.
8 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Da non perdere 12 mai 2000
Par Enrico - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Un cd assolutamente delizioso. Il primo quartetto di Grieg è semplicemente sublime, tutto fuoco e ghiaccio, appassionato e placido, volubile eppure coerente. Il quartetto di Johansen è stato una piacevole scoperta. Il suono dell'Oslo String Quartet è fresco e pieno di vitalità, l'interpretazione fluida, precisa e senza fronzoli. Un cd davvero godibile, che consiglierei a tutti gli amanti della musica camera.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 2 FINE STRING QUARTETS. 23 décembre 2012
Par michael thomas mailey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
5 STARS AGAIN because here is another great album of his 2 string quartets.It sounds great and another bargain also.The complete string quartet is his best one in g minor is another fine one to hear.
5 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 just bought this recording 16 septembre 2004
Par Stephen Andrew Green - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
The first time I heard the Grieg quartets was during a little music party I was having at my apartment. One of my friends had a recording of this, and since I had never heard it, I asked him to put it in. After I heard that recording, I fell passionately in love with the Grieg quartets.

If I had heard this recording that night, I wouldn't have been as affected. This group plays well enough together, but I just don't think they are the kind of musicians that can play a piece like this effectively. I wish I hadn't lost touch with everyone from my old school, because I would love to know WHO was playing this quartet the first time I heard it. Their performance was HUGE. They had a HUGE ORCHESTRAL sound, and all of the phrases were big, fat, and voluptuous. This performance, while proficient, is totally flat in comparison. They just sort of seem to... let go of the ends of notes and phrases, which makes their performance seem more like an excersize than anything else. Like they're just familiar with the piece, and haven't taken the time, or maybe even had enough time to gain an intimate knowledge of it. If you're really dead set on having a recording of this piece, I guess go ahead and buy this one. Be prepared to use your imagination though. If you want a really good recording, keep looking. and tell me if you find one...
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