Tchaikovsky: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3
- CDR 90000 056
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Formed at Marlboro in 1969, the revered Vermeer, "one of the world's premier quartets" (Chicago Tribune), applies its characteristically "virtuous energy level" (Los Angeles Times) to Tchaikovsky's much-favored First Quartet and his seldom-heard Third.
The famous "Andante cantabile" movement of the First Quartet ranges from moving melancholy to lyrical ecstasy. It's said to have made Tolstoy cry, and gained such immediate popularity that Tchaikovsky worried it might overshadow the rest of his music.
An epitome of full-bore, heartfelt Romanticism, the rarely recorded Third Quartet is an elegiac tribute to a close friend. Especially eloquent and moving is its slow movement, marked "Andante funebre e doloroso."
With this CD, the Vermeer concludes its survey of Tchaikovsky's chamber works for strings, which began with Cedille Records' 1994 release of the String Quartet No. 2 and string sextet, "Souvenir de Florence" (CDR 90000 017). The Chicago Tribune's John von Rhein called it "one of the most successful discs for [Cedille] to date" and praised the Vermeer's "lean, sharply dramatic" interpretation. Terry Teachout of the New York Daily News gave it a four-star review for its "passionate, extroverted performances" and "beautifully recorded" sound.
Hear these vibrant Quartets played with the "edge that makes a Vermeer concert a dynamic experience" (Rocky Mountain News).