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The Late Quartets Vol. 1 - Beethoven Op. 127 | Shostakovich Op. 122 |
Dmitri Shostakovich, Ludwig van Beethoven

Alma Quartet

The Late Quartets Vol. 1 - Beethoven Op. 127 | Shostakovich Op. 122 |

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917298826
Catnr: CC 72988
Release date: 06 September 2024
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1 CD
€ 19.95
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917298826
Catalogue number
CC 72988
Release date
06 September 2024
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN
DE

About the album

As much as the now popular sentence naming Shostakovich "the Beethoven of the 20th Century" is debatable, nobody can deny an amount of contact points between the two composers: above all, the favorite musical mediums and the engagement in historical and political coeval affairs. However, we think that nothing like their Late String Quartets can offer material for a comparative listening and analysis. In both cases we can easily detect what Edward Said defined and discussed as the "Late Style". And in both cases we are in front of a complex and vibrant dialectic between a process of abstraction and a moral imperative to stick to the "hic et nunc". Such an intellectual and existential confrontation is fruitfully without solution and offers a never-ending space to insights and interpretations. Here we propose Alma Quartet's outlook first instalment.
So sehr der heute populäre Satz, Schostakowitsch sei "der Beethoven des 20. Jahrhunderts", umstritten ist, so wenig lassen sich Berührungspunkte zwischen den beiden Komponisten leugnen: vor allem die bevorzugten musikalischen Mittel und das Engagement in historischen und politischen Gleichzeitigkeiten. Wir sind jedoch der Meinung, dass nichts anderes als ihre späten Streichquartette Material für ein vergleichendes Hören und Analysieren bieten kann. In beiden Fällen können wir leicht erkennen, was Edward Said als den "späten Stil" definiert und diskutiert hat. Und in beiden Fällen stehen wir vor einer komplexen und lebendigen Dialektik zwischen einem Prozess der Abstraktion und dem moralischen Imperativ, sich an das "hic et nunc" zu halten. Eine solche intellektuelle und existenzielle Konfrontation ist fruchtbar ohne Lösung und bietet einen unendlichen Raum für Einsichten und Interpretationen. Hier schlagen wir den ersten Teil des Ausblicks des Alma Quartetts vor.

Artist(s)

Alma Quartet

Alma Quartet was formed in 2014 and quickly gained reputation as one of the most thrilling ensembles in Holland. Their debut album: Schulhoff Complete String Quartets has received stellar international praise. The Gramophone claimed 'this set shoots straight to the top' and also admired the quartet for being 'capable of the most seductive playing.' The album was chosen for the 2017 Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik 'Bestenliste' and was also featured on German national radio station SWR2, hailing Alma's Schulhoff cycle as the 'new reference recording.'​ Their latest album Korngold String Quartet No.1 | Piano Quintet with Severin von Eckardstein for Challenge Records received the prestigious Diapason d'Or in France and has been exceptionally well received by The Gramophone claiming there is a ‘[…] superb polish of...
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Alma Quartet was formed in 2014 and quickly gained reputation as one of the most thrilling ensembles in Holland. Their debut album: Schulhoff Complete String Quartets has received stellar international praise. The Gramophone claimed 'this set shoots straight to the top' and also admired the quartet for being 'capable of the most seductive playing.'

The album was chosen for the 2017 Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik "Bestenliste" and was also featured on German national radio station SWR2, hailing Alma's Schulhoff cycle as the 'new reference recording.'​

Their latest album Korngold String Quartet No.1 | Piano Quintet with Severin von Eckardstein for Challenge Records received the prestigious Diapason d'Or in France and has been exceptionally well received by The Gramophone claiming there is a ‘[…] superb polish of the playing, a sense of freshness, discovery and sheer joy that leaps out from this recording’ as well as ‘this is intensely characterful playing that never sounds mannered – complex without becoming congested.’

Italian magazine Classic Voice gives the album 5 stars and says: 'The passionate interpretation restores all its communicative strength.'

De Volkskrant states ‘Alma Quartet plays Korngold the way he would’ve wanted, slippery and insane.’

Belgian newspaper De Standaard claims ‘Alma Quartet knows how to capture the soul of Korngold.’

And BBC Music Magazine writes: 'there's inventiveness and a sense of adventure in these burnished performances - utterly refined, yet warm and tender too.'

Ultimately the American Record Guide says: 'I might as well admit that the album sounds phenomenal.'

Korngold String Quartets Nos. 2-3 was recorded direct-to-disc without editing and has been ranked among the Top40 best albums of 2021 by De Volkskrant claiming 'Alma Quartet plays Korngold with a touch of soft nostalgia.'

De Standaard gave it a 5-star review claiming 'the Amsterdam foursome plays formidable [...]' and 'the result sounds as thrilling as a live concert.'

BBC Radio 3 celebrated their 'uncompromising and emphatic performance style' as well as saying that it's 'like close-up magic, listening to this.'

NRC Handelsblad stated 'the foursome [...] shows the listener in one go the most beautiful flowers along the deepest abysses' and Het Parool praised the quartet for their 'enchanting masters level playing' and finds that 'the result commands great admiration.'

Spanish magazine Ritmo gave it 5 stars and claimed their recording is 'the best available [...] for understanding the expressive world of Korngold.'

As well as performing the classical repertoire, the quartet is keen on collaborating with artists of other genres such as singer-songwriter Nana Adjoa, bigband New Cool Collective with which they released Opus 127, an EP containing jazz variations on Beethovens twelfth string quartet and composer and jazz pianist Rembrandt Frerichs with whom they released Piano Concertos Nos. 1-2 of which De Volkskrant stated they play '[...] with a lot of flair and finesse.'

The quartet has recorded for a number of labels including Sony Classical, Universal Music, BIS Records, Challenge Records, Gutman Records and TRPTK. They also collaborate intensely with techno producer Henrik Schwarz on a multitude of projects.

On their album CCMYK, they explore the possibilities of seamlessly fusing newly composed electronic and classical music into a new language.

The quartet has performed at prestigious concert halls including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Müpa Budapest, Konzerthaus Berlin, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, De Doelen Rotterdam, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ Amsterdam, Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Süreyya Opera House Istanbul, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Harbin Concert Hall, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall, as well as clubs and theaters such as Jazz Cafe London, Philharmonie Haarlem, Diligentia Den Haag, Volksbühne Berlin, Temple Beijing, Musis Arnhem, Paradiso Amsterdam, Bimhuis, Melkweg Amsterdam, Kulturbrauerei Berlin and Střecha Lucerny Prague. ​

They have played during captivating events such as String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, Schumannfest Düsseldorf, Amsterdam Dance Event, XJazz Festival Berlin, Down The Rabbit Hole, Beyond the Pale Festival, Shoeless Festival, Pop-Kultur Festival Berlin, Theater Spektakel Zurich, TEDx and Uitmarkt Amsterdam.

Alma Quartet has collaborated with diverse artists such as Klaus Mäkelä, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lisa Batiashvili, Martin Fröst, Denis Kozhukhin, Severin von Eckardstein, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Samuel Adams, Milica Djordjevic, Jörgen van Rijen, Hauschka, Henrik Schwarz, Julien Libeer, Lavinia Meijer, Dauwd, Rembrandt Frerichs, Ramon van Engelenhoven, Bugge Wesseltoft, New Cool Collective, Dominique Vleeshouwers, Nana Adjoa, Mahsa Vahdat, Sarah Neutkens, Nicolas van Poucke, Dominic Seldis, Santa Vizine, Nino Gvetadze, Aidan Mikdad and Frank Lammers.


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Composer(s)

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include nine symphonies, five piano concertos, one violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio. Together with Mozart and Haydn, he was part of the First Viennese School.    Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and by composer and conductor Christian Gottlob...
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Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include nine symphonies, five piano concertos, one violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio. Together with Mozart and Haydn, he was part of the First Viennese School. Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and by composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21 he moved to Vienna, where he began studying composition with Joseph Haydn, and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. By his late 20s his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. In 1811 he gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; many of his most admired works come from these last 15 years of his life.

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Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian pianist and composer of the Soviet period. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death). A polystylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the...
more
Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian pianist and composer of the Soviet period. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century.
Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death).
A polystylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor Stravinsky, and (especially in his symphonies) by the late Romanticism associated with Gustav Mahler.
Shostakovich's orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber output includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His solo piano works include two sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, several song cycles, ballets, and a substantial quantity of film music; especially well known is The Second Waltz, Op. 99, music to the film The First Echelon (1955–1956), as well as the suites of music composed for The Gadfly.

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