- Audio CD (Jan 28 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Telarc
- ASIN: B000003CV4
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Allegro Moderato|
|2. II. Scherzo|
|3. III. Notturno|
|4. IV. Finale|
|5. I. Allegro Vivo Appassionato|
|6. II. Allegro Moderato A La Polka|
|7. III. Largo Sostenuto|
|8. IV. Vivace|
Wanting more of Borodin after long love affair with his Nocturne, I searched for a quality recording of the Quartet in No. 2. This Cleveland Quartet recording is clear and played on a matched set of Stradivarius instruments once belonging to Paganini.
Borodin is remarkable individual, who worked productively in both fields of chemistry and music. This quartet no. 2 was dedicated to his wife in honor of their 20th anniversary. No wonder many of us find this music no hauntingly romantic.
Smetana has long been of interest to me, now I enjoy this quartet as well. He supposedly composed this as his personal response to life's tragedy for him, which declined to deafness and insanity. It was a programmatic movement, from the opening youthful mood to the second (a polka) of youthful dancing, to the largo of first love, to the haunting Finale, a lengthy holding high pitched note, which reminded him of the oncoming deafness. Interesting that in first private performance, Dvorak performed the viola part.
Will get much play from me. Delightful stuff!
Smetana's quartet is one of the few programmatic sting quartets. In it, he musically depicts various events from his life-- his romantic moods, his love of dancing (embodied in the polka of the second movement), his first love, and, in the finale, the deafness which began to appear when he was 50 years old.
The Cleveland quartet's performance of these works is splendid-- nice and clean, and they don't overdo the schmaltz. The only better way to experience this music is to hear it played live in a dimly lit cafe while sipping an espresso and nibbling a croissant.