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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: 2 minutes 35 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

1952; for three violins and cello

Gavotte  [2'35]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Although he continued to write chamber music, Kodály’s focus shifted over the ensuing decades. It was therefore to Bartók that attention turned in matters of the string quartet, and the Hungarian chapter of the genre’s history is dominated by his six contributions. But in 1952, long after the premieres of revered works such as Psalmus hungaricus, Háry János and The Dances of Galánta, and the establishment of his educational philosophies, adopted internationally as the ‘Kodály Method’, the composer penned a Gavotte for three violins and cello. Although the form and language of the work are modishly neoclassical, there is a heartfelt simplicity that is unmistakably folkloric.

from notes by Gavin Plumley © 2014

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