Leos Janácek Two String Quartets Review

BBC Review

Janácek wrote these two string quartets to express his love for Kamila Stosslova. The...

Andrew McGregor 2006

With these two string quartets Janácek went a couple of steps beyond wearing his heart on his sleeve. They're explicitly about his love for Kamila Stosslova, the younger woman who became the well-spring for some of Janácek's finest music, and the way in which he pours his emotions onto the page can be startling, even shocking.

We mustn't be embarrassed by this sudden intimacy; some performers emphasise the gentle beauties and loving tenderness of 'Intimate Letters', while standing back from its volcanic passions. Not the latest incarnation of the Talich Quartet; there's an explosive directness here that's breathtaking, often exhilarating, matched by a sweetness of tone that can be utterly disarming.

In Janácek, the Talich Quartet can be measured against the very best of the Czech quartets, the Smetanas or Skampas...and the First Quartet from Janácek's younger Czech contemporary Schulhoff is a major bonus.

Like This? Try These:
Janácek: Orchestral Music(Czech Philharmonic/Mackerras)
Dvorák: Cello Concerto and Dumky Trio (Jean-Guihen Queyras)
Bartok: Violin Sonatas (Christian Tetzlaff)

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