Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Dvorak late string quartets have been hiding in plain sight

  1. #1
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    WA, U.S.
    Posts
    5,055
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Dvorak late string quartets have been hiding in plain sight

    I heard some very nice chamber music on the radio, and thought maybe it was Dvorak or Tchaikovsky, and it turns out I was hearing the finale of sq 13 of Dvorak. Now I'm listening to it and I must say that this is the late and post american Dvorak I've been wishing was there all these years. I'm eager to try the 14th as well. I'd never cared as much for the late poems and my liking of the 9th symphony and American chamber works pales in comparison to how much I enjoy the late middle period chamber music and the 7th and 8th symphonies. The cello concerto was the main exception from his american period that I still like without reservation. But sq 13 has a late Schubertian depth transposed into late 19th century language. 14 is already on my list to check out. Any others I should know about?
    Last edited by clavichorder; Oct-28-2018 at 23:02.

  2. Likes shirime, Merl liked this post
  3. #2
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    WA, U.S.
    Posts
    5,055
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default

    Now I'm listening to the 14th. These are masterpieces. What have I been missing...

  4. Likes Triplets liked this post
  5. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3,930
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    9 , 10 and 12 -14 are all favourites of mine. Another thing I think you’ll enjoy (I do) is the op 77 double bass quintet.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-29-2018 at 07:31.

  6. Likes classfolkphile liked this post
  7. #4
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    17,538
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    A reminder. ALL the quartets of Dvorak, Janacek, Smetana, and Martinu can be had as a download by the Stamitz Quartet for $8.99. Or if you have Amazon Prime, they can be streamed for free. Is that a deal or what?

    https://www.amazon.com/Czech-String-...ms-bar-strip-0

    Last edited by KenOC; Oct-29-2018 at 07:18.


  8. Likes Quartetfore, starthrower liked this post
  9. #5
    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Oxford-ish
    Posts
    498
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Do take up Ken's recommendation, by the way!

    Not sure what you're after, other worthwhile quartets, or other late works? To be honest, if you are finding the later quartets enjoyable (an understatement, it seems!) then maybe the earlier ones will disappoint. They aren't on the same level, and I believe he thought he had destroyed them too. That said, there are some interesting bits there - No.4 is in one continuous movement, three contrasting sections, and an attempt to "big up" and de-Schubertise his quartet writing. Yeah, it's a sprawl, but a pleasant sprawl! I'd suggest working backward to about No.7 or 6, and see where and when your interest wanes.....you should definitely check out the middle to late Cypresses, which are arrangements for Quartet of some of his earlier Love Songs. They are whimsical and quite lovely.

    If it's late Dvorak you're after, there's not much after he returned from America. He retouched the wonderfully endearing opera Jakobin, but I cannot say how "late" it became as a result. Otherwise, you have managed to overlook one massive masterpiece, which is his penultimate opera Rusalka. It's probably now the single most popular Czech opera, and his only one which gets a hearing away from Bohemia! Dvorak was a proper opera composer, this was no sideline for him, and even beyond the famous Song to the Moon, contains some of his very finest music.

  10. Likes Luchesi, Josquin13 liked this post
  11. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    16
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I would add the String Quartet #11 and the String Quintet,Op. 97 to those already listed.

  12. #7
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    3,892
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Just like Brahms, Dvorak was primarily a composer of chamber music. There is great stuff for piano and strings as well. They haven't been hiding. It's just a prejudice in favor of orchestral music among a large segment of the audience.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-29-2018 at 14:19.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  13. #8
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    374
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Dvorak best stuff is way above his average... among the three concertos, I favor the two string over the piano, by a long shot... Rusalka Is a great opera but if's in the same vein as the four late Erben poems, so if they don't fit your taste...

    The string sextet is as good as any of the quartets, with a Dumka and a Bruckner-like finale with variations. I prefer it to either of the Brahms sextets. The quintet is not as distinguished to me but has many fans...

    And the Slavonic Dances, when the mood is right...
    Last edited by philoctetes; Oct-29-2018 at 21:06.

  14. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    River Forest, Il, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,663
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I think the Dvorak Quartets are underrated. Everyone knows the American, or perhaps Op.51, but the later works are brilliant.

  15. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3,930
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brahms4 View Post
    I would add the String Quartet #11
    I listened to it today, and yes it’s full of interesting ideas and is really charming. Thanks for prompting me to go back to it, for the first time in about 10 years at least!
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-30-2018 at 22:58.

  16. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    575
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I like the folksy quality of his String Quartet No. 12, entitled the "American" quartet, which Dvorak composed away from New York City, while visiting the Czech immigrant community in Spillville, Iowa, where he spent his summer vacation in 1893. It is thought to be partly based on an old African-American spiritual, or possibly an Indian tune that Dvorak heard in Spillville, but it all sounds very slavonic to me, at least when played by the Czech Prazak Quartet (see link below). However, I admit that the Cleveland Quartet probably does bring out the American idioms in the music a bit more (see 2nd link below). Anyway, it's my favorite Dvorak SQ, & a masterpiece in the genre, in my view:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV-kbAydcwk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxtAHpYIXdU

    Dvorak also composed his String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97 during his summer in Iowa, as it was a particularly creative period in his life. Now this work sounds more American influenced to me:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hBjIGHoxb8

    Dvorak's 4 Piano Trios are among his better chamber music as well, in my view, especially the last two. If you don't know his final Piano Trio, No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90, entitled the "Dumky" trio, it's worth hearing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tapaNHSlUL8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7Ld2O25Uf8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adcuLISl07Y

    as is his Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj_EErGBH-I
    https://www.amazon.com/Dvo%C5%99%C3%...0999130&sr=1-5

    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Pian...uk+trio+dvorak
    https://www.amazon.com/Dvorak-Comple...uk+trio+dvorak
    https://www.amazon.com/Dvorak-Piano-...uk+trio+dvorak
    https://www.amazon.com/Dvorak-Comple...uk+trio+dvorak
    https://www.amazon.com/Dvor%C3%A1k-C...eaux+arts+trio

    In addition, all of violinist Josef Suk's Dvorak recordings are essential (in addition to his Suk Trio recordings), such as Suk's playing of the Romance and Violin Concerto (with Ancerl & Neumann), and the 4 Romances for Violin & Piano, with pianist Rudolph Firkusny (or Josef Hala). Suk was the grandson of composer Josef Suk, and the great-grandson of Dvorak, so you might say that this music was in his blood, via his familial connection to the composer. He was also a great violinist:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLvzZffstp0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XApLGaaTEWc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiwW-ViOnGc
    Last edited by Josquin13; Oct-31-2018 at 17:34.

  17. Likes Quartetfore, rw181383 liked this post
  18. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    731
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I am going to add the Haas recording of the Op.96, and on the disk their recording of the great Op. 106. Both works are played with true national flavor. Several years ago it was named Chamber Music recording by Gramophone. I don`t go by this sort of rewards, but it is an outstanding record.
    There is another recording that I like of the Op.106 that I like played by the Artemis Quartet. Different in conception, but still valid.

  19. Likes Merl liked this post
  20. #13
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    WA, U.S.
    Posts
    5,055
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default

    That slow mvt to op 105 has such pathos in parts. Loving the introspection.

    Also, I'm well familiar with op 77 double bass quintet. Before discovering the last two sq, my favorites were op 77 and op 81 piano quintet but now I can two more to that. I like the american works okay, but I prefer these works. Oh, and the Dumky trio! I forgot about that one, excellent piece!

    I'm not as familiar with String Quintet op 97. I will check it out.
    Last edited by clavichorder; Nov-01-2018 at 00:54.

  21. #14
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Syracuse, NY USA
    Posts
    8,547
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I'm familiar only with Janacek. Will have to listen to some more of these Czech quartets.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

  22. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    393
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thanks for the recommendation, these are really good and I had not listened to them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •