WORKS: String Quartets (complete)
PERFORMER: Panocha Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 11 2153-2 AAD (1990)
Martinu was himself a violinist, and he wrote string quartets at every stage of his life: he had destroyed several juvenile pieces before the Quartet No. 1 of 1918. His ‘mature’ quartets, collected here, span a 30-year period therefore, and they reflect well the evolution of his musical style, from the early French influences to the later neo-classicism. The Panocha Quartet recorded their cycle in the early Eighties, and the fluency of the performances matches that of the music. If the recordings lack a little in atmosphere, they have the virtue of emphasising the clarity of the ensemble playing. Terry Barfoot.