Bartók: String Quartets

Bartók: The 6 String Quartets
Takács Quartet
London 455 297 (2 CDs)

Contents:

    String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7 (1909)
  1. Lento
  2. Poco a poco accelerando all'allegretto
  3. Introduzione Allegro - Allegro vivace

  4. String Quartet No. 3 (1927)
  5. Prima parte: Moderato -
  6. Seconda parte: Allegro -
  7. Ricapitulazione della prima parte: Moderato -
    Coda: Allegro molto

  8. String Quartet No. 5 (1934)
  9. Allegro
  10. Adagio molto
  11. Scherzo: Alla bulgarese - Trio
  12. Andante
  13. Finale: Allegro vivace - Presto
    String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17 (1917)
  1. Moderato
  2. Allegro molto capriccioso
  3. Lento

  4. String Quartet No. 4 (1928)
  5. Allegro
  6. Prestissimo, con sordino
  7. Non troppo lento
  8. Allegretto pizzicato
  9. Allegro molto

  10. String Quartet No. 6 (1939)
  11. Mesto - Più mosso, pesante - Vivace
  12. Mesto - Marcia
  13. Mesto - Burletta: Moderato
  14. Mesto

Performers: Edward Dusinberre (violin I), Károly Schranz (violin II), Roger Tapping (viola), András Fejér (cello)

Playing time: 152'

Recording dates: August & September 1996 (Neumarkt, Germany); release date: 1998

The Bartók quartets occupy a special place in early-to-mid-20th century music, based especially on their combination of fugal counterpoint, extensions to string technique, and ultimately violent imagery. It would be difficult to find fault with the wonderful work done by the Takács Quartet.

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T. M. McComb