Friday, April 21, 2017

Foerster, Josef Bohuslav. (1859-1951) The Complete String Quartets. World Premiere Recordings. Top recommendation.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
Label Supraphon  SU 4050-2. ( 2 CD'S)
First listen: 13-2-2014.
Second listen: 29-4-2014.
Third listen: 21-4-2017.
Recording dates:  February, March, June 2009.
Recording venue: Evangelical Church, At Jacob's ladder, Prague.
Recording engineer: Jan Lžičař.
Running time: CD 1: 71:00-CD 2: 61:40.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.
This set with the SQ was made possible by a generous grant, from "Jurg Vollenweider". Bless this guy, for investing his money in such a worthwhile project. We need more of such kind souls.

Works.

1) SQ No. 1 in E major, opus 15. (1888)
2) SQ No. 2 in D major, opus 39. (1893)
3) SQ No. 3 in C major, opus 61. ( 1907, rev 1913)
4) SQ No. 4 in F major, opus 182. (1943-44)
5) SQ No. 5 in G major, "The Vestec" sine op. (1951)
6) The Prayer for SQ, sine op. (1940)
7) Memory for SQ and harp, sine op. (1901)
8) String Quintet, opus 3. (1886)
9) Allegro giocoso for SQ, sine op. (1894)

Performers.

Stamic Quartet.
Jana Boušková Harp.
Jiři Hudec, Double bass.

Foerster's inclined to chamber formations owing to his nature, in which the lyrical, introspective aspect always prevails. The first SQ is dedicated to Tchaikovsky, a composer Foerster admired. You will also hear snippets of melodies that have a strong imprint by Smetana, a composer that Foerster idolised. And of course a lot of Dvorak is in all of his SQ, But Foerster found an ideal blending of all influences, and put his personal stamp on it. Not to long ago I engaged in a excellent set with Foerster's solo piano works, played by Patricia Goodman on Brilliant, financed by crowdfunding, see in my blog for the reviews, that made quite an impression on me, in terms of the music and the dedicated playing. In these SQ I meet with the same intensity and musical depth, that so amazed me in the piano works. You cannot get around him really, certainly not if Dvorak is also on your diet. And he is able to make some pretty unusual statements, just listen to the beginning of the third movement of the SQ No. 5, being Foerster's final work, dedicated to his second wife "Olenka". Foerster goes back to his roots here, to the long standing tradition of Czech music. The work remained unfinished deliberately, as the composer himself said, to symbolize one's path in life, which does not close with physical departure from the world. And with this I end my review too, just mentioning that the performance and recording are top notch. An essential set to have.




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