One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27 (1877/78) [3517]
String Quartet No. 2 in F major, EG 117 (c. 1891) [18:35]
Fugue in F minor, EG 114 (1861) [3:15]
Meccore String Quartet
rec. 2016, Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster, Germany
MDG 903 1998-6 SACD [57:09]

On MDG, the Meccore String Quartet has recorded Edvard Grieg’s three works for string quartet, of which only String Quartet No. 1 in G minor is in complete form. Grieg’s music is often seen as defined by a small body of works: Piano Concerto, Peer Gynt suites, Holberg Suite, Lyric Pieces for solo piano including the notable Wedding Day at Troldhaugen. Nevertheless, there are a number of gems to discover, including the Cello Sonata, the three Violin Sonatas and the G minor String Quartet performed here.

Grieg was only 18 years old when in 1861 he composed his Fugue in F minor marked Allegro con fuoco. Possibly the score was a student exercise for his counterpoint class during his time at the Leipzig Conservatory (1858-1862). Lasting just over three minutes, this lively, upbeat piece displays an infectious quality in the hands of the Meccore. Some four years later a modest fugal passage was woven into the Finale of Grieg’s delightful First Violin Sonata.

Written in 1877/1878, the extrovert String Quartet No. 1 in G minor follows an earlier, now lost, quartet from his student years. None other than Liszt acclaimed this mature quartet, which, as Grieg biographer Erling Dahl Jr. has said, serves as “a bridge between the late Beethoven quartets and Debussy’s quartet”. The score is contemporaneous to significant and influential quartets by Borodin, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvořák. Evident is how Grieg’s writing is typically rhythmic, intense and buoyant, frequently shot through with sections of rapt tenderness. It soon becomes clear that the Meccore are aware of the heartfelt, affecting content of the writing. It reflects Grieg’s capricious romantic experiences, but is careful not to overemphasise the emotion. Marked Lento – Presto al Saltarello, the inspiring Finale is a compelling highlight a wonderful movement that could easily serve as a stand-alone piece.

Around 1891 Grieg commenced work on String Quartet No. 2 in F major but he never found the motivation to complete the score. He left just two movements and sketches for the third and fourth movements. After Grieg’s death, his Dutch friend the composer Julius Röntgen edited the first two movements for the Leipzig publisher Peters. Röntgen later made a completion by elaborating the sketches of the two unfinished movements. They have been recorded (see a review) but are not performed on this release. In the manner of a Richard Strauss tone poem, the opening movement marked Sostenuto – Allegro vivace e grazioso could easily suggest watching Grieg’s breathtaking Nordic landscapes through, say, a train carriage window. Typically, the second movement Allegro scherzando is highly rhythmic. The Meccore expertly underline the starkly contrasting tempi and dynamics of the scoring.

Founded in 2007, the Warsaw-based Meccore String Quartet has been the recipient of several prestigious chamber music awards. In 2016, they released an album of Szymanowski and Debussy quartets on Warner. Striking throughout is how the Meccore marry security of ensemble and attractive intonation with colourful expression. They display a real affinity for Grieg’s music. Nothing feels rushed or forced, everything falls ideally into place.

This hybrid SACD has been recorded in studio conditions at Konzerthaus der Abtei Marienmünster. (I played it on a standard player.) The recording engineers did a faultless job. They have excelled, providing satisfying clarity and balance. Axel Streurich’s readable and informative booklet notes are exemplary.

Michael Cookson

Previous reviews: Richard Kraus ~ Stuart Sillitoe


 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger