Korngold, Reznicek

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COMPOSERS: Korngold,Reznicek
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: String Quartet No. 1 in A; String Quartet No. 1 in C sharp minor
PERFORMER: Franz Schubert Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5506
Korngold’s first quartet is coupled here with what is apparently the first recording of the first quartet (1921) by Emil Nikolaus von ReznicŠek. ReznicŠek,

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a Viennese composer 37 years Korngold’s senior, is now known

only for the overture to his highly successful comic opera Donna Diana: his music is very much that of the 19th century, unlike Korngold’s, whose Romantic idiom is underscored with

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a glittering edge of modernity. It’s a warm, lyrical, glowing, melodic work, and one that I look forward to getting to know much better – in fact it’s astonishing that nobody has unearthed it for a recording sooner. Korngold’s First Quartet is well paired with it: this, too, is a big-hearted, vigorous, expansive work, with a vivid scherzo and a particularly lovely last movement, a gentle, optimistic piece evoking Shakespeare’s lines, ‘When birds do sing, hey ding-a-ding-a-ding, Sweet lovers love the spring’. Korngold’s big-heartedness always comes through best if his works are played with a real sense of Viennese tradition – and who better to do this than the Franz Schubert Quartet of Vienna? It gives the music the necessary strong rhythmic incisiveness, but plenty of space to breathe. The warmth of its sound and the recording’s ambience do the music proud. Jessica Duchen