Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vanhal, Johann Baptist. String Quartets.

New acquisition.
Bought in October 2106.
First listen.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Kammermusikstudio des SWR Stuttgart, Germany.
Recording engineer: Friedemann Trumpp.
Running time: 78:34.
Classical relevance: A nice add on when you like the Haydn Quartets.

Works performed:
SQ in C minor, opus 1, No.4.
In G major.
In A major, opus 33, No. 2.
In E flat major.

Performed by:
Lotus String Quartet.

This unknown Quartet has three Japanese ladies, and for good measure a second violinist from German origin. The list of prizes is impressive, as is their list of quartets with which they studied, amongst them the Melos Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, LaSalle Quartet, and with Rainer Schmidt of the Hagen Quartet. Apart from the music, their way of playing is analytical and clear headed, with very precise playing, and some beautiful phrasing. Their bowing technique is impressive, and the sound they produce seductive, but rather anaemic, bleak, with little warmth. This precise technical playing leaves almost no room for emotions, and as a consequence a sameness in all the quartets is emerging, resulting in unconcentrated listening. at my side of the speaker. This is a pity, for Vanhal's music is by all standards as fine as Joseph Haydn is wont to produce, although in this present recording you might not hear this, for it needs more creative and devil dare playing as this Quartet is producing, and not such a polite interpretation as this. The performance has it's merits, certainly, but I cannot escape the thought that it can be done much better.  The recording is well balanced save one aspect. The first violinist is a tad to prominently placed, and the tone can be a bit grating. I have listened to this recording on my near field monitors, and they are quite critical in terms of balance, and the total picture.

Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 51 & 52

New acquisition. Purchase date: I do not remember. First listen: 21-2-2018. Label: Naxos. CD 51 & 52 from 52. Recording dates: Apri...