Andrew Palmer, Group Editor

Classical Music Album: Weinberg String Quartets Vol 2

Weinberg String Quartets Vol 2

String Quartet No 1 in C Op 2 /141 (1937 revised 1985); String Quartet in C Op 59 (1957); String Quartet No 11 in F Op 89 (1965-66)

Arcadia Quartet

Chandos CHAN 20174

The Arcadia Quartet write that classical music tends to categorise composers into those who are well-known, whose music is often played and … the others.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg fits into the latter group. When the quartet encountered his music, they felt instantly captivated by the wonderful music and it is not hard to see why.

They give outstanding performances of these unknown quartets particularly No 7. The opening movement, an adagio, has a haunting melody that creeps up on the listener using the space to make an impact. A lyrical allegretto follows with some delicate accompaniments before another adagio leading into a large scale allegro rounds off the three movement work.

Quartet No 1, as David Fanning points out in his insightful notes, is an astonishing achievement for a teenager, self-taught in composition. The style of the quartet is remarkable not just for its overheated chromaticism but of the assurance with which the still inexperienced composer keeps that language under control. It has some lovely moments and is like No 7, just three movements.

No 11’s third movement adagio has long solos for viola, first violin and cello played superbly by Traian Boală, Ana Török, Zsolt Török with Răsvan Dumitru on second violin. The listener is pulled in by the engaging playing of the the last movement before it eventually dissipates into the ether.

These quartets are arresting in the way the music draws the listener into Weinberg's world and captured beautifully by the Arcadia Quartet.

Perceptive playing from this Romanian group.