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Doelen Kwartet - Play it again!

Janssen, Guus. Streepjes, String Quartet no. 2.
Hamel, Micha. Le Phénix, opus 30, for soprano and string quartet.. Hanneke de Wit, sopraan.
Top, Edward. Das Lied der Schwermuth. 2nd string quartet. Martijn Sanders, bariton

Badings, Henk. String quartet no.2.

Dutilleux, Henri. Ainsi la nuit..
Britten, Benjamin. String Quartet no. 1, in D, opus 25.
Prokofjev, Sergej. String Quartet no. 1,opus 50.

Rhim, Wolfgang. Im Innersten.
Donatoni, Franco. La Souris sans sourire
Kaipeinen, Jouni 3rd String Quartet.
Kagel, Mauricio. Pan, a tutti papgheni, for piccolo and string quartet. Pia van Delden, piccolo

Doelen Kwartet: Frank de Groot, Laurens van Vliet, viool. Karin Dolman, altviool. Hans Woudenberg, cello.

Attacca 27108-109 [3 CD's for price of 2 - Recorded in the Eduard Flipse Saal at de Doelen, Rotterdam 2002-2005]

Already recommended by Musical Pointers for their CD of Rotterdam string quartets [Etcetera KTC 1339], here is an attractively packaged compilation of some of the best of the DoelenKwartet's broadcast performances before live audiences (who are remarkably unintrusive).

This seems to be a thoroughly sensible and desirable compilation, well selected to demonstrate the quartet's commitment to contemporary music, "Dutch" compositions alongside those of a wide range of important international composers. The string quartet sound (itself almost infinitely various) is complemented by voices and by piccolo for Kagel's entrancing little encore piece.

You won't regret hearing again Britten's 1st (and least often performed) and Prokofiev's No 1 as the centre pieces of these programmes, and you will become acquainted with carefully chosen examples of recent and current writing, including some more of Rotterdam's own composers.

In the main, they come across as very serious and intense ("audiences manage to listen to our concerts full of expectations and in concentrated silence") so they perhaps owe themselves a little relaxation by cushion fighting?


Dutilleux & Mozart
Erol ER 200025 [72 mins]

Received in the same batch is an attractive memento for those who attended the Sonates d'Automne chamber music festival at Loches, autumn 2006.

Radio France recorded a concert of Mozart and Dutilleux, who was present and wrote his thanks that they didn't forget music of our time...

His quartet Ainsi la nuit is now become ubiquitous in the string quartet repertoire. Without score, I cannot choose between this fine account of it and the Doelen's (above). Here there are also Dutilleux's Three Piano Preludes (preceded each by a recitation of a Baudelaire poem) and his three Strophes sur le nom de Sacher for cello.

The Mozart quintet with winds K 452 gets as warm and affectionate an account (on modern instruments) as you are likely to find by combing the many rival recordings in the catalogues. Note though that this production has texts only in French.

Peter Grahame Woolf


More Mozart:

The new Mackerras/Scottish Chamber Orchestra version is splendid and these hardy perennials come across fresh and new minted.

Photos: Helene van Dornberg