The Bohemian Album = DVORAK: Serenade for Strings in e; HAAS: String Quartet No. 2, “From the Monkey Mountains” (for strings and percussion); SCHULHOFF: 5 Pieces for String Quarte – Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candia Thompson – Channel Classics

by | Dec 1, 2009 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

The Bohemian Album = DVORAK: Serenade for Strings in e, Op. 22; HAAS: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 7, “From the Monkey Mountains” (version for string orchestra and percussion); SCHULHOFF: 5 Pieces for String Quartet (version for string orchestra) – Amsterdam Sinfonietta/ Candida Thompson, leader – Channel Classics multichannel SACD 24409, 78:00 ***** [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]:

It is becoming a matter of course to assume that any album by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta will merit high praise—this one is no exception. You would think that the Dvorak, with its zillions of recordings (many of them excellent) doesn’t deserve another issue, but any new recording of time honored repertory, no matter how many times done, is deserving of yet another when done as finely as this one. The Super Audio surround spread in this release is marvelous, and the quiet playing of these strings must be experienced to be believed.

Of course the choice of string quartets and whether they need “beefing up” into a string orchestra is a valid one. All I can say is that “From the Monkey Mountains” benefits deliciously from this treatment, the last movement’s added percussion a nice twist. If you don’t know this work you are in for a treat; the “Monkey Mountains” are in fact the Moravian Hills, and Haas’s vacation there inspired this work.

The Erwin Schulhoff Five Pieces were iconoclastic when written, but now they seem comparatively tame with their jazz and popular allusions, a modern version of the baroque suite done in contemporary dance movements. This is a tremendously populist piece of great affection bound to be liked by all.

Terrific stuff this. Don’t miss any of it!

— Steven Ritter  

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