QUARTETTO ITALIANO


Decca
37 CDs - 478 8824 - (c) 2015

COMPLETE DECCA, PHILIPS & DG RECORDINGS










Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)




String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18 No. 1 Philips 6500 181
(p) 1972
CD 19 | 1-4 28' 05"
String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18 No. 2 Philips 6500 646
(p) 1975 CD 19 | 5-8 25' 12"
String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18 No. 3 Philips 6500 181 (p) 1972 CD 20 | 1-4 26' 08"
String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18 No. 4 Philips 6500 646 (p) 1975 CD 20 | 5-8 25' 04"
String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18 No. 5 Philips 6500 647 (p) 1973 CD 21 | 1-4 29' 26"
String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 No. 6 Decca LXT 2811 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 3 | 5-8 27' 24"
String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 No. 6 Philips 6500 647 (p) 1973 CD 21 | 5-8 27' 20"
String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 "Rasumovsky" Decca LXT 2856 - Mono (p) 1954
CD 1 | 1-4 40' 50"
String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 "Rasumovsky" Philips 6747 139 (p) 1974 CD 22 | 1-4 40' 29"
String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2 "Rasumovsky" Philips 6747 139 (p) 1974 CD 23 | 1-4 38' 29"
String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 "Rasumovsky" Decca LXT 2679 - Mono (p) 1952 CD 1 | 5-8 30' 00"
String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 "Rasumovsky" Philips 6747 139 (p) 1974 CD 24 | 1-4 32' 00"
String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 "Harp" Philips 6500 180
(p) 1971 CD 24 | 5-8 32' 34"
String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso" Philips 6500 180 (p) 1971 CD 23 | 5-8 20' 24"
String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 Philips 839 745
(p) 1968 CD 25 | 1-4 37' 48"
String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 Philips 839 795 (p) 1969 CD 26 | 1-6 42' 50"
String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 Philips 802 915
(p) 1969 CD 25 | 5-11 42' 29"
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 Philips 802 806 (p) 1967 CD 27 | 1-5 47' 05"
String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 Philips 839 745 (p) 1968 CD 26 | 7-10 25' 18"
(String Quartet No. 17) "Groe Fuge" in B flat major, Op. 133 Philips 802 806 (p) 1969 CD 27 | 6 18' 52"






Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)




String Quartet in D major, Op. 6 No. 1 (G 165) - (Op. 8 No. 1) Decca LXT 2680 - Mono (p) 1952 CD 5 | 5-7 13' 25"
String Quartet in D major, Op. 6 No. 1 (G 165) - (Op. 8 No. 1) Philips 9500 305
(p) 1977 CD 18 | 1-3 18' 06"
String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 6 No. 3 (G 167) - (Op. 8 No. 3) Philips 9500 305 (p) 1977 CD 18 | 4-6 18' 58"
String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 58 No. 2 (G 243) Philips 9500 305 (p) 1977 CD 18 | 7-10 21' 19"






Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)




String Quartet No. 2 in D major Philips 802 814
(p) 1968 CD 34 | 5-8 28' 55"






Johannes Brahms (1833-1887)




Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 *
Deutsche Grammophon 2531 137 (p) 1980 CD 37 43' 51"
String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51 No. 1 Philips 802 815 (p) 1968 CD 31 | 1-4 33' 33"
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2 Philips 6703 059
(p) 1971 CD 32 | 1-4 32' 12"
String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 No. 3 Philips 6703 059 (p) 1971 CD 31 | 5-8 38' 17"






Claude Debussy (1862-1918)





String Quartet in G minor Philips 835 361
(p) 1967 CD 35 | 1-4 26' 44"







Antonn Dvořk (1841-1904)





String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 "American" Philips 802 814 (p) 1968 CD 34 | 1-4 27' 04"






Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)





String Quartet Op. 3 No. 5 in F major, Hob. III:17 "Serenade" Philips 835 370 (p) 1965 CD 16 | 5-8 13' 26"
String Quartet Op. 64 No. 5 in D major, Hob. III:63 "The Lark" Philips 835 370 (p) 1965 CD 16 | 1-4 18' 18"
String Quartet Op. 64 No. 6 in E flat major, Hob. III:64 Decca LXT 2680 - Mono (p) 1952 CD 5 | 1-4 17' 10"
String Quartet Op. 76 No. 2 in D minor, Hob. III:76 "Fifths" Philips 835 370 (p) 1965 CD 16 | 9-12 20' 43"
String Quartet Op. 76 No. 3 in C major, Hob. III:77 "Emperor" Philips 9500 157
(p) 1976 CD 17 | 1-4 26' 01"
String Quartet Op. 76 No. 4 in B flat major, Hob. III:78 "Sunrise" Philips 9500 157 (p) 1976 CD 17 | 5-8 23' 59"
String Quartet Op. 77 No. 1 in G major, Hob. III:81 Decca LXT 2811 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 3 | 1-4 22' 49"






Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)





Adagio e Fuga in C minor, KV 546 Decca LXT 2853 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 4 | 5-6 8' 32"
Adagio e Fuga in C minor, KV 546 Philips 6500 645 (p) 1973 CD 15 | 10-11 8' 48"
Divertimento in D major, KV 136 Philips 6500 645 (p) 1973 CD 15 | 1-3 12' 40"
Divertimento in B flat major, KV 137 Philips 6500 645 (p) 1973 CD 15 | 4-6 10' 10"
Divertimento in F major, KV 138 Philips 6500 645 (p) 1973 CD 15 | 7-9 11' 32"
String Quartet No. 1 in G major, KV 80 (73f) Philips 6500 142 (p) 1971 CD 7 | 1-4 15' 11"
String Quartet No. 2 in D major, KV 155 (134a) Decca LXT 2852 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 2 | 1-3 10' 06"
String Quartet No. 2 in D major, KV 155 (134a) Philips 6500 142 (p) 1971 CD 7 | 5-7 9' 39"
String Quartet No. 3 in G major, KV 156 (134b) (original version)
Philips 6500 142 (p) 1971 CD 7 | 8-11 16' 21"
String Quartet No. 4 in C major, KV 157 Philips 6500 142 (p) 1971 CD 7 | 12-14 12' 18"
String Quartet No. 5 in F major, KV 158 Philips 6500 172 (p) 1972 CD 7 | 15-17 15' 32"
String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, KV 159 Philips 6500 172 (p) 1972 CD 8 | 1-3 13' 13"
String Quartet No. 7 in E flat major, KV 160 (159a) Philips 6500 172 (p) 1972 CD 8 | 4-6 11' 04"
String Quartet No. 8 in F major, KV 168 Philips 6500 172 (p) 1972 CD 8 | 7-10 14' 35"
String Quartet No. 9 in A major, KV 169 Philips 6500 644 (p) 1973 CD 8 | 11-14 15' 20"
String Quartet No. 10 in C major, KV 170 Philips 6500 644 (p) 1973 CD 9 | 1-4 15' 38"
String Quartet No. 11 in E flat major, KV 171 Philips 6500 644 (p) 1973 CD 9 | 5-8 16' 29"
String Quartet No. 12 in B flat major, KV 172 Philips 6500 644 (p) 1973 CD 9 | 9-12 15' 43"
String Quartet No. 13 in D minor, KV 173 Philips 6500 645 (p) 1973 CD 9 | 13-16 16' 14"
String Quartet No. 14 in G major, KV 387 ("Haydn" Quartet No. 1) Philips 839 604 (p) 1967 CD 10 | 1-4 29' 02"
String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, KV 421 (417b) ("Haydn" Quartet No. 2) Philips 839 604 (p) 1967 CD 10 | 5-8 27' 06"
String Quartet No. 16 in E flat major, KV 428 (421b) ("Haydn" Quartet No. 3) Philips 839 605 (p) 1967 CD 11 | 1-4 28' 13"
String Quartet No. 17 in B flat major "Hunt", KV 458 ("Haydn" Quartet No. 4) Philips 839 605 (p) 1967 CD 11 | 5-8 27' 24"
String Quartet No. 18 in A major, KV 464 ("Haydn" Quartet No. 5) Philips 839 606 (p) 1967 CD 12 | 1-4 33' 39"
String Quartet No. 19 in C major "Dissonance", KV 465 ("Haydn" Quartet No. 6) Decca LXT 2853 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 4 | 1-4 27' 25"
String Quartet No. 19 in C major "Dissonance", KV 465 ("Haydn" Quartet No. 6) Philips 839 606 (p) 1967 CD 12 | 5-8 31' 45"
String Quartet No. 20 in D major "Hoffmeister", KV 499 Philips 6500 241 (p) 1971 CD 13 | 1-4 29' 15"
String Quartet No. 21 in D major, KV 575 ("Prussian" Quartet No. 1) Philips 6500 241 (p) 1971 CD 13 | 5-8 24' 38"
String Quartet No. 22 in B flat major, KV 589 ("Prussian" Quartet No. 2) Philips 6500 225 (p) 1972 CD 14 | 1-4 23' 20"
String Quartet No. 23 in F major, KV 590 ("Prussian" Quartet No. 3) Decca LXT 2852 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 4 | 7-10 28' 13"
String Quartet No. 23 in F major, KV 590 ("Prussian" Quartet No. 3) Philips 6500 225 (p) 1972 CD 14 | 5-8 27' 22"
Clarinet Quintet in A major, KV 581 Decca LXT 2698 - Mono (p) 1952 CD 2 | 4-7 33' 16"






Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)




String Quartet in F major Philips 835 361 (p) 1967 CD 35 | 5-8 29' 53"






Franz Schubert (1797-1828)




String Quartet No. 8 in B flat major, D 112
Decca LXT 2855 - Mono (p) 1967 CD 6 | 5-8 31' 39"
String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, D 87 Philips 9500 078 (p) 1977 CD 30 | 1-4 27' 28"
String Quartet No. 12 in C minor "Quartettsatz", D 703 Decca LXT 2679 - Mono (p) 1952 CD 6 | 9 11' 01"
String Quartet No. 12 in C minor "Quartettsatz", D 703 Philips 835 397 (p) 1966 CD 29 | 5 10' 52"
String Quartet No. 12 in C minor "Quartettsatz", D 703 * Philips 9500 751 (p) 1980 CD 30 | 9 11' 21"
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor "Rosamunde", D 804 Decca LXT 2854 - Mono (p) 1954 CD 6 | 1-4 34' 10"
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor "Rosamunde", D 804 Philips 9500 078 (p) 1977 CD 28 | 5-8 36' 40"
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor "Death and the Maiden", D 810 Philips 835 397 (p) 1966 CD 28 | 1-4 38' 16"
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor "Death and the Maiden", D 810 *
Philips 9500 751 (p) 1980 CD 30 | 5-8 39' 38"
String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D 887 Philips 9500 409 (p) 1978 CD 29 | 1-4 55' 03"






Robert Schumann (1810-1856)





String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1 Philips 802 815 (p) 1968 CD 33 | 1-4 25' 58"
String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41 No. 2 Decca LXT 2591 - Mono (p) 1951 CD 5 | 8-11 21' 08"
String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41 No. 2 Philips 6703 059 (p) 1971 CD 33 | 5-8 21' 07"
String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41 No. 3 Philips 6703 059 (p) 1971 CD 33 | 9-12 31' 43"






Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)




String Quartet in E minor Decca LXT 2591 - Mono (p) 1951 CD 5 | 12-15 21' 44"






Anton Webern (1883-1945)




Slow Movement for String Quartet (1905)
Philips 6500 105
(p) 1970 CD 36 | 1 10' 11"
String Quartet (1905) Philips 6500 105 (p) 1970 CD 36 | 2 17' 22"
Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5 Philips 6500 105 (p) 1970 CD 36 | 3-7 11' 58"
Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9 Philips 6500 105 (p) 1970 CD 36 | 8-13 4' 49"
String Quartet, Op. 28 Philips 6500 105 (p) 1970 CD 36 | 14-16 8' 05"






 
QUARTETTO ITALIANO
- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, Dino Asciolla*, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello

 






Luogo e data di registrazione
(dettagli in ogni scheda discografica)


Registrazione: live / studio
studio

Producer / Engineer
Raymond McGill | Ben Wiseman at The Audio Archiving Company Limited


Prima Edizione LP
-


Prima Edizione CD
Decca | 478 8824 | 37 CDs | (c) 2015 | ADD


Note
-












QUARTETTO ITALIANO
Italy produced the first all-star string quartet - Pietro Nardini, Filippo Manfredi, Giuseppe Cambini and Luigi Boccherini - but by early last century, the country was in the invidious position of having some of the keenest quartet societies, but no home-grown ensemble capable of matching the visiting string quartets who graced their programmes: it was all part of the decline in orchestral and instrumental music brought on by the concentration on opera in the nineteenth century.
Four young people who met at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena, in the summer of 1942 were determined to change things. Paolo Borciani (1922-1985), Elisa Pegreffi (born 1922), Lionello Forzanti (1913-2009) and Franco Rossi (1921-2006) spearheaded a movement which, by the 1950s, would take their nation into the forefront of chamber music. Brought together by the eminent cellist Arturo Bonucci, they got on so well, preparing Debussy's Op. 10 under his tutelage, that they swore to meet again when the war was over. So on 20 August 1945 they founded the Nuovo Quartetto Italiano - the "New" distinguished them from a previous ensemble and signalled their radical intentions.
From the start they wanted to play all their repertoire from memory, as the Kolisch Quartet had done. Meeting in the Borciani family's Reggio Emilia apartment, they worked on their first programme: three pieces by Corelli, the Debussy and Stravinsky's Concertino for the first half, then Beethoven's First "Rasumovsky", with a Vinci gavotte as an encore. Their inaugural recital, in Carpi on 12 November 1945, was followed by one in Reggio Emilia, and in December they reached Milan, where a critc wrote: "One may, without any uncertainty, speak of an important revelation in the field of chamber music." By then they had added to their repertoire Haydn's Op. 76 no. 2 and op. 64 no. 6, Boccherini's Op. 6 nos. 1 and 3, Schumann's Second, Kodly's Second, Turina's La oracin del torero, Beethoven's third "Rasumovsky" and Bartk's Sixth (soon dropped, although they later took up the First). In 1946 they added Mozart's Clarinet Quintet and "Dissonance" Quartet.
In June 1946 they made their first 78rpm recording, the Debussy, for an Italian label, with the Vinci on Side 8. "Nello" Forzanti's personality came through strongly, yet within a year he left to pursue a conducting career (he later returned to the viola and in his nineties still played in a Californian orchestra). His successor was the tall, serious Piero Farulli (1920-2012), a  Florentine who had been hoping for this eventuality: with him they had to work up their small repertoire all over again. By autumn 1947 they were adding Giardini's Op. 23 no. 4, a piece by Dittersdorf, Villa-Lobos's new Ninth, Bloch's new Second, Glazunov's Fourth and Beethoven's Op. 130.
In August 1947 they came to London, giving the forerunners of many recitals for the BBC's new Third Programme on the 17th, 20th and 25th, the latter a courageous tilt at Op. 130. "The first time they played the Op. 130, it was a direct broadcast, and they played it by heart", Borciani's brother Guido recalled. On 3 September they mae their debut Decca recording, at West Hampstead Studios: Haydn's E flat, op. 64 no. 6. It was rejected for release, but they returned for more broadcasts in October and again in March 1948, when They played for the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society as last-minute substitutes. This society asked them back regularly, and the BBC began presenting them in live invitation concerts at the Concert Hall of Broadcasting House, as well as in studio performances.
The years 1948 and 1948 also saw them visit Austria, Spain, France, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia, gaining glowing reviews. "The Nuovo Quartetto Italiano made a sensational debut in Paris," Bernard Gavoty wrote in the Spectateur, "and for once the word is not too strong. I have never seen such simultaneity of attack, a like transparency of sound, a similar devotion to the common cause."
On 11 November 1948 they reconvened at Decca Stusios: fron that session and another on 20 November came their first published Decca discs: the Haydn E flat and Boccherini's D major, op. 6 no. 1. Lovely as the Boccherini was, the Haydn E flat was one of those magical recordings which crop up only rarely. The two works were later coupled on an LP, and the Quartet's other Decca recordings went straight to LP. Especially noteworthy was the 1950 pairing of Schumann's F major, a gramophone premiere, and Verdi's E minor, which they never recorded (tired of being asked for it, they dropped it after 1960). These discs revealed an ensemble rather like the pre-war Franco-Belgian consorts - the Flonzaley or the Pro Arte - light-toned and mercurial, with deft, delicate bowing and subtle use of vibrato. There were hints that they were capable of a tonal beauty equalled in their own generation only by the Hollywood, Smetana and Borodin Quartets. They combined grace and lightness with a touch of portamento, but their charm and elegance had a deeper dimension - how daringly they plunged with Haydn into the darkness at the core of his Andante!
In 1951, after many invitations, they toured the United States, "the country where we were playing the trump card of our future", as Farulli put it. In the New York Herald Tribune Virgil Thomson hailed "the finest string quartet, unquestionably, that our century has known. Perfection is the only word to describe this playing, perfection of a kind and degree that no quartet lover living, and no quartet player, has heard before." Symbolically they had dropped the "Nuovo" from their name - although it still appeared of their sensitive recording of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, made in London in February 1952 - just after a BBC broadcast of it - with their usual collaborator, Swiss clarinettist Antoine de Bavier (1919-2004), a pupil of Luigi Amodio. It was the only Decca project played from the printed music. Notable among a series made at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome, were Schubert's A minor and B flat. The gentle humanity of their approach to the A minor was already apparent in this, the first of three recordings, while the B flat was a lyrical contrast to the vivacious Busch Quartet performance.
In 1952 Elisa Pegreffi became Signora Borciani, but her husband fell ill, causing the cancellation of a seventyfour-concert US tour. Not until 30 January 1953, after five inactive months, could they resume recitals.
The birth on 30 May of Mario Borciani, destined to be a pianist and composer, barely disrupted their schedule: within two weeks they recording in Milan for a different label. By now they were coming closer to an "Italian" sound, with suave sonorous bowing and chording. Their lustrous tone was achieved on quiete modest instruments - Borciani's violin was a Rocca. In the concert hall, as on record they exuded an indefinable yet palpable spiritual radiance in slow movements: the demeanour of Madama Pegreffi-Borciani was positively angelic. Borciani and Rossi were dominant in rehearsal, while the quiet, dignified Farulli mostly kept his opinions to himself. Pegreffi, voluble in private life, respected her colleagues too much to lay down the law except on repertoire - because of her they played no Mendelssohn or Tchaikovsky and just one work by Malipiero. "There was no pacifist in the Quartetto, but Faurulli and I were more ready to accept what the others said, because we knew we had two great musicians with us", she said. "We never joked - we quarrelled but we never joked!" Borciani was a born leader and Pegreffi the perfect second, achieving a miraculous match with her husband and managing to meet Farulli's darker tone at the other extreme. Rossi was "a poet", according to Antonn Kohout, his opposite number in the Smetana Quartet.
Through the 1950s they worked out the implications of what they gleaned in just one long evening from Wilhelm Furtwngler. Meeting him at the 1951 Salzburg Festival, they ran through Brahms's F minor Quintet with the conductor at the piano and were bowled over by his approach. He changed their entire attitude: they strove to bring more rhythmic freedom to bear on their innate classicism. In 1956, needing to expand their range, they began to drop their policy of playing by heart. They taught individually, the violinists in Milan and Farulli and Rossi in Florence, but also gave corporate masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Stockholm and summer courses at the Vacanze Musicali in Venice.
In August 1965, after making two LPs in Geneva for yet another label, theytravelled to Vevey to begin their fruitful association with Philips, taping Haydn, Schubert and their Mediterranean interpretations of Debussy and Ravel. The Quartetto Italiano which emerged in the mid-1960a had undergone a radical rethinking. "We took stock of ourselves in recent years", Borciani told Newsweek in 1977. "We started just after the war, in a Toscanini style, everything in its place. But the world changed - and luckily we grew up with the worls." The humanity remained, but they risked much broader tempi, executed with a more massive, muscular approach to chording and tone quality.
The first signs of their last - and perhaps most rewarding - phase could be heard as early as 1967, when they recorded Beethoven's Op. 132. For the first time since the 1930s, here was a group willing and able to play the chorale sections of the "Heiliger Dankgesang" really slowly. In 1968-69 they completed the Late Quartets, and through the early 1970s they gradually added the rest of the Beethoven cycle. A Mozart cycle was just as monumental. As the label's house quartet, they were usually restricted to the central repertoire - their luminous 1970 Webern disc was a rare exception.
In 1974 they began collaborating with Maurizio Pollini on the Brahms Piano Quintet - in the Quartetto's thirty-five-year history, only he and De Bavier were accepted as guests - and in 1977 came the final addition to their repertoire, Schubert's G major, which they taped that July, observing the huge first-movement exposition repeat. It stands as their most arresting interpretation, drawn on the grandest scale. They seemed to have reached a new plateau of excellence and were planning to record string quartets - Mozart with Dino Asciolla and Schubert with Pierre Fournier - when disaster struck. That December, Farulli had a heart attack and his colleagues made the mistake of replacing him temporarily with Asciolla. He was mortally offended and the breach never healed.
So it was with Asciolla that they went to the Herkulessaal, Munich, in January 1979 to record the Brahms Quintet for DG with the imperious Pollini. A remake of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" and Quartettsatz followed for Philips. Early in 1980, Asciolla abruptly quit, making comments to the press which did not square with what one knew of the Quartetto Italiano's working methods. By a sad coincidence on the evening of their last concert, 17 February, the now recovered Farulli was playing quintets with Amadeus Quartet. Paolo Borciani's illness and early death meant there could be no rinascimento of the Quartetto: but it had been an epic musical odyssey, and much of the evidence is contained in this box of compact discs
.
Tully Potter