Royal String Quartet
The all-Polish Royal String Quartet are one of the most interesting and dynamically developing string quartets of the young generation. They are particularly acclaimed for their performances of music from their homeland, and have received the Special Prize of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage ‘in recognition of their contribution to Polish culture’. Continuing this theme, their debut recording for Hyperion features music by Szymanowski and Rózycki.
The two Szymanowski quartets are contrasting masterpieces from different periods in the composer’s varied career. The first seems reminiscent of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No 1 in its impressionistic sound world, its voluptuous, erotic sensibility and its layers of texture and colour. The second quartet is from the composer’s last phase, and draws on the full range of folk materials he had encountered in the Tatra highlands, and which inspired him to a new and more ‘authentic’ modernism. It is a piece of granitic strength and ruggedness.
We complete the disc with a contemporary rarity, the String Quartet by Rózycki, a work which shows the virtues of a late-Romantic idiom untouched by French or Russian style, and touched only lightly by central European folk influences.