Home » Classical Downloads » Hi-Res Downloads » 24bit/96kHz » Kocian Quartet: Bedřich Smetana, Jean Sibelius – String Quartets (24/96 FLAC)

Kocian Quartet: Bedřich Smetana, Jean Sibelius – String Quartets (24/96 FLAC)

Kocian Quartet: Bedřich Smetana,  Jean Sibelius - String Quartets (24/96 FLAC)

Kocian Quartet: Bedřich Smetana, Jean Sibelius – String Quartets (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Bedřich Smetana, Jean Sibelius
Performer: Kocian Quartet
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Praga Digitals
Release: 2009
Size: 1.14 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 in E minor “From my life”
01. I. Allegro vivo appassionato
02. II. Allegro moderato alla Polka
03. III. Largo sostenuto
04. IV. Vivace

Sibelius: String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56 “Voces intimae”
05. I. Andante – Allegro molto moderato
06. II. Vivace
07. III. Adagio di molto
08. IV. Allegretto (ma pesante)
09. V. Allegro

10. Sibelius: Andante festivo

Smetana and Sibelius may not at once seem like natural companions for an album of string quartets. Although their lives slightly overlapped and both were well-respected Nationalistic composers, their compositional styles were quite different. What is similar between their respective most well-known string quartets may be the circumstances surrounding their composition. For Smetana, Quartet No. 1 in E minor “From My Life” was written shortly after his stroke, which greatly exacerbated his already troubling hearing loss. The quartet’s autobiographical nature is a look back on the composer’s life, focusing on happier moments until tintinnabulation in the middle of the fourth movement signals the decline of his hearing. For Sibelius, the certainty of autobiographical intention is less clear, although the composer was suffering from a mass in his throat. What really ties these two works together on this album is the stunning performance given by the Kocian Quartet. The group represents precisely what makes a good string quartet: equally balanced dialogue between four equals. No instrument ever dominates over the others, and listeners will notice passages in the inner voices perhaps for the first time, having been covered or obscured in other recordings. They successfully and convincingly capture the full range of emotions in both quartets. The extended love song that makes up the second movement of the Smetana quartet is perfectly tender and delicate and the brilliant, quasi-fugal finale of the Sibelius quartet is vivacious, precise, and fantastically gritty. Attention to detail further enhances the quartet’s memorable performance; nuances of dynamics, articulation, phrasing, and tempo are well-rehearsed. Praga’s SACD sound is especially warm and spacious. Special kudos should be given to violist Zbynek Padourek, whose stunningly powerful playing is some of the most exciting quartet viola playing.

Leave a Reply