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Hyperion Records

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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: 19 minutes 4 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 3 'Leaves of an unwritten diary'
2008; first performed in Warsaw by the Shanghai Quartet in 2008

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 2008 Penderecki completed his String Quartet No 3, ‘Leaves of an unwritten diary’. It was premiered in Warsaw that same year, on the composer’s seventy-fifth birthday, by the Shanghai Quartet.

With its opening E flat minor triad, against which the viola (one of his favourite instruments) unfolds a melody, the third string quartet belongs in a completely different world than that of its predecessor forty years earlier. It provides a retrospective if not sentimental glance at his preoccupations over this period. There is the halting, sometimes grotesque waltz based on a repeated minor third. There are also passages where his sonoristic heterophony seems to have been recast in diatonic terms. There is even, in the latter stages, a recollection of a gypsy violin tune that apparently his father played to him in his childhood. Above all, the third string quartet, despite a clear recapitulation of the minor-third waltz section, bears the hallmark of the composer’s restless switching from one idea or tempo to the next. Penderecki’s three string quartets therefore have more in common than might at first appear, and they embody the concept that an artist may change style but not character.

from notes by Adrian Thomas © 2013

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