Album: Dvorak/Haas/Schulhoff, The Bohemian Album, (Channel Classics)

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The Independent Culture

Quartets and string orchestras are different beasts but this programme from the Amsterdam Sinfonietta is strong enough to stand a hint of steroid abuse. A pupil of Janacek, Pavel Haas wrote his “Second String Quartet” in 1925, two years after the premiere of Erwin Schulhoff’s halfjazz, half-neo-classical “Five Pieces for String Quartet”. Both composers died in the Holocaust, changing the course of Czech musical history. In this context, Dvorak’s gentle 1875 “Serenade” sounds positively prelapsarian.

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