Sunday, February 08, 2009

Guarneri Quartet

I'm not all that familiar with the work of the Guarneri Quartet. I heard them only once, in the early 1980s, and all I remember is they sounded annoyed and out of sorts. On record, I have their Beethoven cycle, which is well-played and very middle-of-the-road, not quite the thing for someone who likes extreme Beethoven.

However, they've been a fixture on the scene for decades and are now in their last season of performances, having announced their retirement at the end of 2009. Sony has made a number of albums that appeared only on LP available digitally, meaning these are recordings that were long, long out of print. They're being distributed by Sony as downloads (available at iTunes and Amazon, for example) and at ArkivMusic as CDs. You can find these albums on a special page at Arkiv. The sets include works by Bartok, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and others; very tasty repertory. In addition, the Guarneri is releasing a new recording, called The Hungarian Album, which features works of Dohnanyi and Kodaly. That is also delicious.

My only question: are they recording the big Octet William Bolcom wrote for them and the Johannes Quartet?? That would be a fitting capstone to a long career.

[Corrections posted Monday, Feb. 9]

7 comments:

calimac said...

The Guarneri's Beethoven recording was my first exposure to that repertoire, and it did not move me. But considering how long ago that was, it may have been me more than them.

Marcus said...

The Guarneri's Debussy/Ravel on RCA was one of my first CDs and remains my favorite disc of those two quartets...

Lisa Hirsch said...

I have a Debussy/Ravel pairing, but it's the Juilliard and I haven't even seen the CD in years. I wonder where it got to.

Orlando Fernandes said...

45 years is a long time to have played together, at the time they decided to call it quits, the three founding members were all in their 70s... simply amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention about the Guarneri reissues. Hey, it's Sony that's facilitating the reissues. The label is offering them as downloads; ArkivMusic's part is producing the reissues as physical CDs for those who prefer that format.
I'll ask the Sony folks about the Bolcom Octet. You never know....
Wende at ArkivMusic.com

rootlesscosmo said...

If you're looking for a new Debussy/Ravel pairing, I can recommend the Keller Quartet.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, I will add the Keller's D/R pairing to my list of recordings to check out.