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Hyperion Records

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In the Park (2008) by Márta Mártonfi-Benke (b1958)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67999
Recording details: February 2013
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: February 2014
Total duration: 5 minutes 10 seconds

'Kodály’s two string quartets tend to linger under the shadow of the mighty ‘six pack’ that his compatriot Bartók wrote over a period of some 30 years … but they deserve more attention than they’ve so far received … the two shorter works make for attractive makeweights … as to rival versions of the quartets, the gutsy Kontra Quartet (BIS) offer fine readings of both quartets but suffer from an excessively resonant recording; the Kodály Quartet (Hungaroton) are relatively underpowered, especially in the first movement of the First Quartet. Which makes this new album a secure recommendation for both works' (Gramophone) » More

'Kodály's music is invariably approachable, it is welcoming without avoiding complexity … the passion of the opening of String Quartet No 1 sets the tone, but this alternates with an almost neo-classical quality. Folksong shadows much of the work, but does not drive it … superbly played and recorded, these readings are of the highest order' (BBC Music Magazine) » More

'The Dante Quartet give us a glimpse of Kodály's rapid stylistic development in these crisply defined performances. The charming Intermezzo from 1905 shows the influence of Vienna still apparent in the young composer, but by 1908 he was finding his true voice with the pungent, folk song-inspired first quartet, played here with unapologetic vigour by the Dantes. Quartet No 2 combines the pentatonic influence of Debussy with more than a dash of Magyar pepper, the Dantes bringing the tumult of the finale to a gloriously rumbustious close.' (The Observer)

'The delicate, wistful Gavotte joins a similarly beguiling Intermezzo for string trio between Zoltán Kodály’s two string quartets, tougher nuts than either of the two miniatures and stylistically fascinating. Kodály’s studies in Paris in the early 20th century clearly rubbed off in certain similarities that the First Quartet betrays to the milieu of Debussy and Ravel, but it is Gallicism with a Hungarian accent. The Dante Quartet responds both subtly and animatedly to this piquant, passionate music, as it does in the Second Quartet, alert to its mix of astringency and lyricism' (The Daily Telegraph) » More

1905; for string trio; Allegretto

Intermezzo  [5'10]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Kodály initially turned to Vienna for his musical guidance, namely the examples of the Classical masters and of Brahms. His Academy classmate Erno Dohnányi, who adopted the Germanic moniker of Ernst von Dohnányi, continued in that Brahmsian fashion. Kodály, on the hand, gradually began to assimilate the language that was the focus of his musicological work. Its presence is already palpable in his 1905 Intermezzo for string trio. A swaying accompaniment, with contrasting arco (bowed) and pizzicato (plucked) textures, and the filigree elements within the melodic line certainly evoke Kodály’s birthplace. More beguiling is the eerily hushed middle section, prophetic of the modal lyricism of his later works and even of Bartók’s ‘night music’ style. Yet despite these qualities, this charming Intermezzo keeps its harmonic footing firmly on the Austro-German side of the border.

from notes by Gavin Plumley © 2014

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