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JANÁČEK, SCHULHOFF // 3 String Quartets

Talich Quartet,

These are glowing performances.


Estimated delivery by 24/10/2021

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The restrained, sympathetic playing of the Talich Quartet in both Janáček quartets, plus the warmth and balance of this recording make this an uplifting, highly desirable disc. The Talich’s instinctive feel for the music and mutual understanding shines through every bar, and its pacing is beautifully judged.
The First Quartet by Erwin Schulhoff proves a considerable bonus. The ending is pure enchantment.

Leoš Janáček // String Quartet no.1, ‘Kreutzer Sonata’


  • Adagio. Con moto 4’00
  • Con moto 4’10
  • Con moto. Vivo. Andante 3’54
  • Con moto. Adagio. Più mosso 5’11


Leoš Janáček // String Quartet no.2, ‘Intimate Letters’


  • Andante 6’04
  • Adagio 6’09
  • Moderato 5’32
  • Allegro 7’25


Erwin Schulhoff // String Quartet no.1


  • Presto con fuoco 2’09
  • Allegretto con moto 3’06
  • Allegro giocoso alla Slovacca 3’08
  • Andante molto sostenuto 6’13

‘These are performances to rival, even surpass, The Lindsay’s for sheer urgency… this new issue surely has to figure on the shortest of future short lists‘


In “Surprised by Beauty,” Robert R. Reilly praises “both of Janáček’s two string quartets [as] masterpieces. They evoke, in Janáček’s words, ‘exaltation, passionate declarations of love, anxiety, indomitable yearnings’. They are among the most nakedly emotional works ever written.” Fortunately for the listener, there has not been a dearth of good recordings of these quartets. The music is so good, it rarely get less than the best from the performers that tackle it. Still there are emotional favorites and performances of such vitality and perfection that they knock your socks off. The Talich Quartet’s performances (also one of Reilly’s recommendations), in generous acoustic, are among them.

They are finally back in print, since the La Dolce Volta label tenderly and lovingly takes care of the catalog of the Calliope label. Their re-issues are more lovingly made than the originals ever were. Still, what makes this so special—even among the many La Dolce Volta re-issues of the Talich Quartet catalog this year—is the inclusion (as on the original release) of First String Quartet of Erwin Schulhoff which elicited this praise at its 1924 premiere: “I defy anyone… to match the tempestuous pace of the first movement, its natural musicality, its clarity, and its homophony” (Erich Steinhard). That still applies in every way—Schulhoff’s works for string quartet are masterpieces on par with the best of the 20th century and the Talich Quartet’s rendition of the First String Quartet is still the finest around. Regardless which (Schulhoff or Janáček) you’d consider the bonus to the other, this is a most attractive disc.

In its forty-five year history, the Talich Quartet, which performs all over the world, has included a number of prestigious Czech musicians.

Talich. The very name conjures up the banks of the Moldau, much loved by Smetana and the residents of Prague. Jan Talich, who founded the quartet in 1964, is the nephew of Vaclav Talich, who conducted the Czech Philharmonic orchestra between 1919 and 1939, achieving giddy heights even before the baton was handed over to Karel Ančerl.
In 1970, Jan Talich handed over the reins to the great violinist Petr Messiereur. Alongside the founder on the viola, the quartet comprised Petr Messiereur and Jan Kvapil on violins and Evzen Rattay on the cello. With this new line-up, the ensemble achieved great success with a national, international and contemporary repertoire.
The success of the first performance given in Paris in 1975 at the invitation of the AMc led to its first invitation to play in the United States in 1976, and an award from the Charles Cros Academy in 1977 for its mythical interpretation of Antonin Dvořàk’s American quartet.

Its back catalogue includes the complete sets of Mozart and Beethoven’s string quartets, Mozart’s string quintets and string quartets by others including Smetana and Janáček.

Taking on the legendary name, the new generation Talich Quartet has been in existence since 1997, when it was given renewed impetus by Jan Talich Jr. It gives concerts worldwide and is still considered to be one of the best contemporary quartets.

The musical style, approach and philosophy of the Talich Quartet are revealed in its international award-winning back catalogue”.

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