BBC Music Magazine award winners the Dante Quartet return for their third Hyperion recording with the string quartets of Smetana and Sibelius. This group, renowned for their inventive interpretations and sensitive articulation, capture perfectly the expressive intensity of these masterpieces.
Smetana’s Quartet No 1 in E minor is entitled ‘From my life’ and musically chronicles his youth, loves and vocation, culminating with the onset of his deafness. The turbulent second Quartet in D minor serves as a sequel to the first, continuing Smetana’s life story. The musical language is adventurous and unusual, speaking movingly of the composer’s loss of his hearing.
Interestingly, Smetana and Sibelius, both renowned for their skilful dealing with symphonic forces poignantly turned to the intimacy of the string quartet form at specific points of crisis in their lives. Voces intimae is an intense precursor to Sibelius’s tormented fourth Symphony, written at a time of profound depression.
These works give a unique insight into the private musical lives of their composers and are performed by the Dante Quartet with conviction and flawless technique.