Dvorak: Quartet No.12 - Smetana: Quartet No.1 (2012)

Smetana, Dvorak

Tokyo String Quartet

During the nineteenth-century Czech National Revival, it was the symphonic poem and opera that dominated musical proceedings. The former, with its programmatic clout, and the latter’s ability to embrace politics and pomp made for nimble agents in the nation’s search for its soul. Bedrich Smetana and Anton.n Dvorak, its prime musical movers and shakers, dedicated their lives to these totemic art forms, while the string quartet trailed quietly behind. Intimate and domesticated, its four-way dialogue was seemingly not for the national stage. But as Dvorak and later Smetana demonstrated, their music was not always about the grand gesture. 
These two composers are now inextricably linked, but during the latter part of the 19th century, Smetana and the younger Dvorak were considered total opposites. Smetana was the progressive figure, embracing Liszt and Wagner’s musical innovations and making them apparently indigenous. He was supported by a loyal band of followers called the mladoceši [young Czechs]. Dvorak, on the other hand, was seen as conservative, aligned with the staroceši [old Czechs]. His success in neighbouring German-speaking territories and his friendship with Brahms likewise did him few favours back at home. 
To the outside world, such infighting was irrelevant and Dvorak was as much the quintessence of the Czech sound as Smetana. And it was in that spirit that Jeannette Thurber, the president of the National Conservatory of Music in America, invited Dvorak to New York in June 1891. Dvorak’s Slovansk. tance [Slavonic Dances] had done incredibly well in America and by offering him a new post at the Conservatory, Thurber hoped to provide not only a famous musician for her students but also one renowned for embracing a national style. It was just what was needed, Thurber felt, having always wanted America to have a musical idiom of its own. A generous salary secured Dvorak’s services in December 1891 and he arrived in New York on 26 September 1892.

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Tokyo String Quartet

Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the Tokyo String Quartet has captivated audiences and critics alike since it was founded 42 years ago. Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each season, the quartet has a devoted international following that includes the major capitals of the world and extends to all four corners, from Australia to Estonia to Scandinavia and the Far East. The Tokyo Quartet has served on the faculty at the Yale School of Music since 1976 and is quartet-in-residence at New York’s 92nd Street Y. Deeply committed to coaching young string quartets, the musicians regularly conduct master classes throughout NorthAmerica, Europe and Japan.
 Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the Tokyo String Quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. Soon after its formation, the quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. An exclusive collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon (more than 40 landmark recordings) firmly established it as one of the world’s leading quartets. The ensemble now records for harmonia mundi usa and has recently concluded an acclaimed cycle of Beethoven’s complete string quartets.

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Dvorak: Quartet No.12 - Smetana: Quartet No.1 (2012)

Smetana, Dvorak

Tokyo String Quartet

Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Robina G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel
Recording location: Richard Bisher Center, Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, New York
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807429DI: Dvorak: Quartet No.12 - Smetana: Quartet No.1
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Tracks.
1.
String Quartet No.12 in F Major Op. 96 - I. Allegro ma non troppo
Dvorak
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2.
String Quartet No.12 in F Major Op. 96 - II. Lento
Dvorak
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3.
String Quartet No.12 in F Major Op. 96 - III. Molto vivace
Dvorak
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4.
String Quartet No.12 in F Major Op. 96 - IV. Vivace
Dvorak
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5.
String Quartet No.1 in E Minor - I. Allegro vivo appassionato
Smetana
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6.
String Quartet No.1 in E Minor - II. Allegro moderato a la Polka
Smetana
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7.
String Quartet No.1 in E Minor - III. Largo sostenuto
Smetana
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8.
String Quartet No.1 in E Minor - IV. Finale: Vivace
Smetana
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