Hyperion Records

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

'Penderecki & Lutosławski: String Quartets' (CDA67943)
Penderecki & Lutosławski: String Quartets
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Track 2 on CDA67943 [8'10]

String Quartet No 2
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

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67943 track 2
Recording date
28 March 2012
Recording venue
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Penderecki & Lutoslawski: String Quartets (CDA67943)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: March 2013
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