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Four for strings chamber music collectors

Ravel, Lalo and Turina String Quartets

Sacconi Quartet


A fresh but mature take on standard repertoire more than rivals past recordings with warm lyricism characterising their trademark sound. As well as this, the ensemble and balance are great; there is also plenty of fire in their playing.

Not having succumbed to putting something new and whacky into their programme, it is well thought out, showing the listener the cross-fertilisation between French and Spanish music during the Impressionist era.

The Sacconi quartet’s CD is definitely worth investing in.

PAGANINI 24 Caprices (arr. W. Zinn)

Wihan String Quartet

Nimbus Aliance NI6113

At the other end of the spectrum The Wihans, veterans of the quartet scene, have brought out a new CD containing arrangements of Paganini’s 24 Caprices for String Quartet.

Initially I was apprehensive, the Caprices are often viewed as technical gymnastics for the violinist rather than real music. However the Wihans play these miniatures with such humour, zest and virtuosity that I quickly succumbed to their interpretation. Being played on four different instruments certainly brings out contrapuntal lines and the harmony’s bass.

Even if it does not prove to be the greatest music it is certainly much fun and worth a listen.

Hans Gál Violin Sonatas

Annette Barbara Vogel, violin, Juhani Lagerspetz, piano.

Avie AV2182

For those who enjoy highly charged romanticism I would recommend the violinist Anette-Barbara Vogel’s new CD. Along with pianist Juhani Lagerspetz she plays little known composer Hans Gál’s two Violin Sonatas and his Suite for Violin and Piano. Born in 1890 near Vienna Hans Gal never felt the need to depart from tonality as did some of his contemporaries, believing “the creative process stems from the deepest layers of the inner psyche, a place impenetrable to the impressions of moment”. The playing on this CD is formidable; it is only a slight shame that Annette Barbara Vogel’s high register does not come across as well as her rich low register.

“there are no more four seasons”

there are no more four seasons
SEKT Records

Mattias Petersson (violin) and George Kentros (electronics) aim to make Vivaldi’s Four Seasons relevant again.

One could argue that the Four Seasons never became irrelevant; one of the few things which hasn’t changed over the centuries is the spinning of the globe.

There are moments of poignant beauty, sounds like ringing bells enmesh the violin for Spring. Unfortunately these creative moments often disintegrate into what can only be described as white noise. I am left believing Vivaldi did know best...

Anna Michel