Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Dido (2007, detail) by Ewa Gargulinska (b1941)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67943
Recording details: March 2012
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2013
Total duration: 8 minutes 10 seconds

'Whatever this music's challenges… the Royal String Quartet meet them head on … spacious and immediate sound, along with informative booklet notes: those for whom the present coupling appeals should not hesitate' (Gramophone)

'The Royal String Quartet, with a detailed, clear recording, give Penderecki's First Quartet a natural precision and direction … [Lutosławski's quartet] packs emotional punch. This is great chamber music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Powerfully dramatic and moving' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Fine, natural engineering lets the music, and these mind-blowing performances, speak for themselves' (International Record Review)

'With its warm, generous sound, and its performances of emotional depth and searing intensity, this is an extremely fine disc' (The Strad)

'That Lutosławski had a more avant-garde side is borne out by his String Quartet of 1965 … the result, in this performance by the Royal String Quartet, is as potent as it is innovative. On the same disc, Lutosławski’s younger compatriot Krzysztof Penderecki is represented by his three quartets—the first two obsessed with isolated percussive sonorities and the third unashamedly harmonious' (Financial Times)

'The Royal String Quartet’s performance affords clarity to every layer of Lutosławski’s musical vision, reminding us yet again that even when dealing with fierce complexity, his music is always precisely balanced and effortlessly economical. These musicians bring a wealth of distinctive characterisation to the piece, making for a gripping and invigorating experience, explicitly recorded' (

String Quartet No 2
1968; first performed in Berlin by the Parrenin Quartet in 1970

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
By the time that he wrote his String Quartet No 2 (1968), Penderecki had begun to broaden his appeal in monumental vocal-instrumental works such as the St Luke Passion (1965) and Dies Irae (1967). The quartet, however, maintains the orthodox sonoristic approach of its predecessor, with certain modifications. Gone are most of the percussive performance techniques, developing instead the idea of homogenous ensemble textures with which the first string quartet concluded. These are now extended over broader time-spans.

The second quartet opens with a tight sfff subito pppp semitonal cluster, which then proceeds slowly to develop flights of fancy. The pace quickens in scurrying semiquavers, incorporating quartertones, heterophonic textures, and guitar-like strumming in glissandi. When rhythmic unison is briefly established, this triggers what might be regarded as a traditional interplay of motivic ideas, akin to a development. And although new soundblocks continue to be introduced, there is little sense of a recapitulation, although Penderecki seems to allude to some of the early textures.

The premiere of the second string quartet was given by the Parrenin Quartet in Berlin in 1970.

from notes by Adrian Thomas © 2013

   English   Français   Deutsch