Philips - 1 LP - 802 814 - (p) 1968
Philips - 1 CD - 420 876-2 - (c) 1989
Decca - 37 CDs - 478 8824 - (c) 2015

Antonn Dvořk (1841-1904)

String Quartet No. 6 in F major, Op. 96 "American"
25' 46"
- Allegro ma non troppo 9' 34"

- Lento 7' 00"

- Molto vivace 3' 54"

- Finale (vivace ma non troppo) 5' 18"

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

String Quartet No. 2 in D major
28' 22"
- Allegro moderato 7' 48"

- Scherzo (allegro) 4' 34"

- Notturno (andante)
9' 07"

- Finale (andante-vivace) 6' 53"

- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello


Luogo e data di registrazione
Het Wapen Van Eindhoven, Eindhoven (Olanda) - 17-22 febbraio 1968

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Engineer
Vittorio Negri | Willem van Leeuwen

Prima Edizione LP
Philips | 802 814 | 1 LP | (p) 1968

Prima Edizione CD
Philips | 420 876-2 | 1 CD - 71' 12" | (c) 1989 | ADD | (Dvořk & "Notturno" by Borodin)
Decca | 478 8824 | 37 CDs - (34, 5-8) | (c) 2015 | ADD | (Borodin)


DVOŘK: String Quartet in F major, op. 96 "American"
In many ways Dvořk's "American" String Quartet is the chamber music equivalent of his "New World" Symphony. Both were written in America in 1893; both are his most popular works in their respective fields; and both have "nicknames" which have proved dangerously misleading. "American" and "From the New World" mean little more than "composed in America" yet people have persisted in believing that the works are full of Negro and Indian melodies. In fact, both more accurately represent the nostalgia of a Bohemian in America for his homeland. How did
Dvořk come to be in America in any case? By 1892, when he was 51, his fame had become world-wide, reaching America via England. As a result he was offered that year the post of director of the newly opened National Conservatory of Music in New York.
He readily accepted and stayed in America for three years in all. He did not, however, find the bustle and noise of New York very conducive to composition. When he heard eventually of a Czech village settlement which existed at Spillville in Iowa he lost little time in arranging to spend his summer vacations there. He arrived there with his family for the first time on June 5, 1893, and was immediately enchanted by his surroundings. Here he could stroll in the little village and hear his native tongue spoken in friendly greeting on the streets. Even the beautiful countersyde around him seemed transported from his homeland. In this peaceful atmosphere he began work on the F Major String Quartet on June 8 and the music flowed from him with wonderful ease. On June 10 the full sketches were complete and by June 23 the work had been completely scored.
Not surprisingly the work reflects both directly and indirectly
Dvořk's impressions of Spillville the happiness palely tinged with nostalgia he found there.

BORODIN: String Quartet in D major
The chamber music of Borodin, like that of
Dvořk, presents a national feeling within a classical framework; as a result his two string quartets have taken their place not simply as great Russian works but as great European works. This is in spite of the fact that Borodin was in a sense committed as a "national" composer, being one of the famous "Kutchka" composers (The Five) who dedicated themselves to creating a specifically Russian school of music by the use of indigenous folk-music and sunjects from Russian history.
Borodin, however, was like
Dvořk in that his nationalism was in his blood rather than in a reference book of folk themes. His D major Quartet, indeed, far from being particularly Russian, has occasionally an almost oriental flavour. It is this originality and spontaneity of Borodin's music that resulted in Borodin adding something to Russian music rather than taking something from it - and in his influence spreading far beyond his national boundaries.
All this is the more remarkable when we consider that Borodin was also an eminent scientist of international renown and that his immortality as a musician rests almost solely on an opera, two symphonies, a dozen songs and his two string quartets.
The second quartet, by far the more popular of the two - it became even more popular when one of its themes was used in the musical "Kismet" - was begun in August 1881, less than six years before the composer's death. It is one of the few works of any importance, apart from songs, completed in the 1880's - partly because of his heavy commitments as one of Russia's leading chemists but also because of his wife's and his own increasing ill health.
Although it is not known for certain when the work was completed, Borodin's Russian biographer, Serge Dianin, makes out an interesting circumstantial case for believing it was completed by the end of August, almost as quickly as
Dvořk's "American" quartet.
First, he maintains, Borodin was too occupied with other matters to attempt any serious composition between September 1881 and January 1992 when the quartet had its first performance at the Imperial Russian Music Society. Second, he points out that the twentieth anniversary of Borodin's engagement fell that August and suggests the work was written to mark the occasion. The work is, in fact, dedicated to the composer's wife, by all accounts, was sentimental about such remembrances, and this may account for the quartet's undoubted romantic flavour. Dianin goes farther and tentatively suggests a programme in which the movements recall periods of courtship and marriage. Perhaps the dramatic last movement may have had a programme but there is no real evidence of what it might be.

Quartetto Italiano
The members of the Quartetto Italiano first began playing together informally during the last three years of the Second World War. When they made their official publi debut in 1945, they were known as the "New Italian Quartet." This name was chosen to reflect their desire to further a time ii became inappropriate. The membership of the Quartet has remained unchanged, and these four musicians have been playing together longer than the members of any other comparable group of international standing. After their forst New York concert in 1951, Virgil Thompson hailed them in the New York Herald Tribune as "the finest quartet, unquestionably, that out century has known," and since that time the Quartetto Italiano has been as widely admired in the United States as in every other part of the musical world
David Hogarth