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MOZART // The Complete String Quintets

Talich Quartet,

Why is Mozart’s music, even though its vocabulary and codes are so firmly anchored in the latter half of the eighteenth century, still so amazingly resonant today?

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Mozart wrote these masterpieces over two centuries ago, yet somehow they remain so familiar, so moving, so relevant to our lives, even though we live in an entirely different era. And then there are the small miracles: the encounter between Mozart and a handful of inspired interpreters. We have all experienced a moment of ineffable grace, thanks to recordings – when Clara Haskil or Murray Perahia play one of his piano concertos, Carlo-Maria Giulini conducts Don Giovanni, Teresa Berganza sings Cherubino, Arthur Grumiaux interprets a sonata or violin concerto, Bruno Walter tackles one of his late symphonies or the Requiem.

We experienced yet again this zenith of musical emotion when the complete Quintets by the Talich Quartet were released in the late 1990s. For the first time, these works – which in reality were performed in concert relatively infrequently and were not widely recorded – became accessible in all of their emotional power and stunning beauty; highly complex yet immediately gripping.


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The Talich Quartet, unforgettable in their expressive warmth, matching of timbre and easy, unforced spontaneity.


This award-winning budget-priced three-disc set is an extraordinary value.


These are magnificent performances, intimate, beautifully nuanced and captured in a warm, clear acoustic that suits the music very well.
This set, made in the 1990s, i one of the finest available, with refreshness and spontaneity allied to a superb sense of style and scale.

Anybody looking for a set of these masterpieces need look no further.

The Talich Quartet, a Bohemian soul


‘The Conservatory of Europe’ – that used to be the nickname of Bohemia. At the heart of central Europe, a people dedicated itself wholly to the art of melody. In the nineteenth century, when Czech musicians were recognised as great composers as well as performers, they gave birth to a repertory steeped in traditions, its inspiration passed on from generation to generation.


Václav Talich, a conductor of genius, was one of the most prominent central European artists in the following century. In 1964, Talich’s nephew Jan founded the string quartet that bears his name. In 1975 it became a chamber ensemble of the Czech Philharmonic, a distinction that quickly gained it international recognition. France became its second home, and thanks to the Calliope label it made some of the great benchmark recordings in the quartet discography, from Mozart to Janáček. La Dolce Volta has since taken up the torch and pursues an adventure too exciting to be interrupted.


For half a century now, even though the bows have changed hands, the quartet’s personality has displayed marked stylistic continuity: spontaneous expressiveness, delicious unpredictability of attack, telling accentuation of folk rhythms, absolute precision and, equally, a sensation of miraculous fragility. Throughout the years, the Talich Quartet has remained the ambassador of a prodigious musical history, nourished by the memory of the torrents and castles of Bohemia, of tales and legends, and of the passions of the Czech people even before it was established as a nation in the aftermath of the First World War. The quartet’s multi-award-winning recordings mirror their interpretation of Janáček’s Second Quartet, ‘Intimate Letters’: the most enchanting of conversations in music.

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