Bartok: Complete String Quartets

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Bartok: Complete String Quartets
The Heath Quartet

[ Harmonia Mundi / 2 CD ]

Release Date: Friday 6 October 2017

The string quartet was of central importance to Bartók throughout his career. His six quartets were written (between 1907 and 1939) at crucial turning points in the composer's creative development. From the elegiac tone of Quartet no.1 (reflecting an unhappy love affair) to the sadness and wry parody of no.6, composed on the eve of World War II, by way of the mirror forms and atmospheric 'night music' of nos.4 and 5, they represent perhaps the biggest interpretative challenge in the genre alongside the Beethoven quartets. A challenge triumphantly met here by the Heath Quartet.

Gramophone award nomination 2018 - Chamber

"This young quartet has achieved the highest levels of concentration on this complete set of the quartets. All aspects of Bartok, from prickly agitation and folk humor to serene contrapuntal abstraction, are perfectly rendered. There is real excitement in the playing and the soundscape is outstanding. This recording narrowly edges out a release by the superb Chiara quartet, which, uniquely, plays the music without scores." Best of 2017

"Their playing isn't as glossy, perhaps, as other recent entrants into this field, such as the Jerusalem Quartet, but they have a powerful understanding of the music's structure, coupled to superlative technical skill. Sensibly, they don't try to fake a Hungarian accent: instead, their awareness of the music's roots is incorporated into a wider expressive language." Gramophone


Disc 1
String Quartet No. 1, Sz.40
1 I. Lento 9'06
2 II. Allegretto. Introduzione 10'07
3 III. Allegro vivace 10'20

String Quartet No. 3, Sz.85
4 I. Prima parte: Moderato 4'45
5 II. Seconda parte: Allegro 5'34
6 III. Recapitulazione della prima parte: Moderato 2'55
7 IV. Coda: Allegro molto 2'20

String Quartet No. 5, Sz.102
8 I. Allegro 7'58
9 II. Adagio molto 5'52
10 III. Scherzo: Alla bulgarese 5'29
11 IV. Andante 4'44
12 V. Finale: Allegro vivace 7'33

Disc 2
String Quartet No. 2, Sz.67
1 I. Moderato 9'51
2 II. Allegro molto capriccioso 8'03
3 III. Lento 9'08

String Quartet No. 4, Sz.91
4 I. Allegro 6'15
5 II. Prestissimo, con sordino 3'12
6 III. Non troppo lento 5'53
7 IV. Allegretto pizzicato 3'01
8 V. Allegro molto 5'51

String Quartet No. 6, Sz.114
9 I. Mesto. Più mosso, pesante - Vivace 7'40
10 II. Mesto. Marcia 7'40
11 III. Mesto. Burletta: Moderato 7'16
12 IV. Mesto 6'48

Heath Quartet