Monday, December 12, 2016

Taneyev, Sergey Ivanovich. (1856-1915) The complete String Quartets, Volume 5.

New acquisition.
Bought in December 2016.
First listen: 12-12-2016.
Label: Naxos.
Recording dates: November 2014 & March 2015.
Recording venues: Alberta Bair Hall, Billings, Montana & Grusin Music Hall, Boulder, Colorado.
Recording engineers: Marlan Barry & Kevin Harbison.
Running time: 76:51.
Classical relevance: Musically essential.

Works performed:
String Quartet No. 8 in C major. (1883)
String Quintet No. 2 in C major, opus 16. (1905)

Works performed by:
Carpe Diem String Quartet.
James Buswell, Viola.

The last volume in this series, and a successful close. I always considered this venture as a lucky stroke for me, for were I have a complicated relation towards his orchestral works, I rather like the chamber works, which to me tell more of this elusive composer as anything else in his oeuvre. Carpe Diem is consistent in their interpretations. Concentrated and alert playing on a very high level. Taneyev is never an easy customer to perform, and neither did Taneyev his utmost to please anyone apart from himself, but once accustomed to the way he writes things, it gets less in the way of squeezing a stone for water. Never easy to adapt, but worthwhile if you can. And in the case of his chamber works I can. SQ No. 8 reminds you in some ways of past great masters like Haydn and Mozart, this you clearly hear, but also Taneyev's own voice gets forcibly through this harmonious quartet, and yes it is quite adventurous, when a romantic idea pops out of the Adagio non troppo movement, quite a surprise.
The String Quintet is altogether a different beast, and one of the mature works. I would not say monumental as the cover says, but technically well written. It is the the first thing you admire, and secondary the melodic content. It has musically enough interest to keep your mind occupied, although your heart may suffer in the process. But then I have a complicated relationship with Taneyev's music, and probably not you😏 
The recording is good, almost no difference between both works.




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