The Hartmann, completed in 1933, shows the influence of Berg's Lyric Suite as well as Bartók's 1928 quartet, with which it shares this outstanding disc. Hartmann went into "inner exile" after the Nazi takeover, refusing to allow his work to be published or performed in Germany. Performed abroad, the quartet won a Swiss prize in 1936. It's a powerful work, with a dark, tragic opening that gives way to furious outbursts and energetic declamations. Making an immediate impact, it should not be missed, especially in the Zehetmair Quartet's spontaneous, tingling performance
The project grew out of the musical acquaintance of the Hungarian double bass player Mátyás Szandai and the French violinist Mathias Lévy. After playing together in the Mathias Lévy Quartet, they decided to set up a project dedicated to Béla Bartók and invite to this the renowned Hungarian cimbalom player Miklós Lukács, a long-time companion of Mátyás Szandai. With the support of the Budapest Music Center, they made their first creative residency in January 2016. The debut concert of the trio took place on 27 May at the Hungarian Institute in Paris, followed by the recording sessions of the album at BMC and a full house concert at the Opus in January last year and further concerts in France during 2017.
The six string quartets of Béla Bartók mark a high point in the genre, and even though their myriad technical demands, rhythmic complexity, and bracing dissonances are no longer obstacles to frequent performance, they still present a major challenge for any string quartet. The Heath Quartet has been performing since 2002, and it has considerable experience with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary music, though this 2017 set on Harmonia Mundi shows that even after 15 years of music-making, these musicians can still be in awe of Bartók's achievement.
For its very first recording on Chandos, the Arcadia String Quartet presents what has been at the very heart of its musical career and influences: the complete string quartets by Bartók. With the music of the Hungarian composer, the members of this Romanian ensemble, neighbours of his birthplace, have won such major careershaping competitions as Osaka, the Wigmore Hall, and Hamburg.
The Ariel Quartet, distinguished by its virtuosic playing and impassioned interpretations, makes its debut recording pairing two giants of the string-quartet world, Bela Bartok and Johannes Brahms. Both composers stand as significant pillars of the youthful Quartet’s two-decade-long journey. The Ariel Quartet earned its glowing international reputation early on, having formed in Israel when its members were students in middle school. The Ariel now serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music Debut. This release is the first in a projected series pairing the quartets of Bartok and Brahms. “…a blazing, larger-than-life performance…” (The Washington Post) “…the sum of the quartet is indeed greater than its parts…”(The Strad)
This disc presents three defining works of the string quartet repertoire, innovative and experimental. The Benyounes Quartet formed 10 years ago at the Royal Nothern College of Music; and this is their first full recording for Champs Hill Records, having contributed to the critically-acclaimed complete Mendelssohn cycle.