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Another work or two that are among my favourites of any time and any genre, and among the most intense pieces of music from the last century as far as I am concerned. And they are echt-Janacek to boot, so it would not be remotely daft to use them as an introduction to this unique and brilliant composer (although I would probably go for Sinfonietta as something more user-friendly as an intro!)

I have a decent handful of recordings, many of them by Czech ensembles, but not all. I have recently bought the two Praga recordings done by the Prazak Quartet, and the one you mention above is an absolute stunner, one which might establish itself among my favourites pretty quickly! But the best I know well would have to include the....

Talich Quartet (on Supraphon, it has a little more passion and wild abandon when needed, than the Calliope recording. Incidentally, I am unsure whether or not the Dolce Volta CD is the same, do you have a recording date on that release?)
Skampa Quartet (also on Supraphon)
Pavel Haas Quartet (guess which label!)

I was also highly impressed by the recording by the Nove Energie quartet, which somebody recommended recently somewheres around 'ere, and I have a great deal of affection for recordings by the Smetanas, the Janaceks and the Gabrielis.

These works should emphatically not be the exclusive property of the Czechs, but they are so much more than mere vehicles for virtuosity, and I do have some recordings where the (non-Czech) quartet seems to play them as such; while it can work very well, those immersed in music that's just in their blood, seem to have that extra dimension.
 

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On the Talichs, the Calliope/Dolce Volta is from 1985, the Supraphon recording, which has a bit more passion, well under control of coirse, than the earlier one, is from 1989.

I may be wrong but there might be FIVE sets by the Smetana Quartet, from 1955, 1979, and live from 1985 (Supraphon), and a 1976 set on Denon. But there's also a Czech Radio recording without dates, and they don't seem to fit any of the others timing-wise.....
 

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I believe 1965 is the oldest (probably a typo). Or yet another one? Are there really distinct ones from 1976 and 79? Because Denon and Supraphon were usually collaborations that eventually appeared on both labels. I have the 1960s (on Testament and Diapason, orig. EMI Electrola), then a Supraphon disc with #1 from 1976 and #2 live 1985. And another #1 on BBC music (live 1975, with Dvorak).
Nope! 1955, from the Supraphon archives, released in 1957.
And I was thinking the Denon and the Supraphon would be the same, but the latter company are actually very specific with dates, and the movement timings are different, and not just in run-off.......So maybe we're up to half a dozen Smetana's??? I have a sneaking suspicion those Czech Radio ones might well be the Diapason perhaps?.....

I reckon there are "only" three Prazaks....!
 
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