Quartetto Academica: Bruch String Quartets 1 and 2

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Max Bruch - String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor Op. 9 (1858)
Performed by the Quartetto Academica.

I. Andante - Allegro Ma Non Troppo - 00:00
II. Adagio - 9:09
III. Allegro Molto Energico - 15:06
IV. Molto Vivace - 19:21

"Bruch's two string quartets date from his youth. One rarely hears them today which is unjust as they are full of rich and effective melodies and are well-written in the style of the mid Romantic. To some extent, they resemble Mendelssohn's Op.44 quartets. The First Quartet dates from 1858. The first movement begins with an Andante introduction and leads to an Allegro ma non troppo with its energetic and powerful main theme. The lovely second subject is more lyrical. The second movement, Adagio, is a sweet song without words. A stormy scherzo, Allegro molto energetico, follows. Its contrasting trio section is based on a folk melody. The finale, Molto vivace, is a tarantella. Both of its themes are particularly fetching."---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players

Max Bruch - String Quartet No. 2 in E Major Op. 10 (1861)
Performed by the Quartetto Academica.
Max Bruch
 Max Bruch

I. Allegro Maestoso - Un Poco Piu Vivo - 00:00
II. Andante Quasi Adagio - 9:40
III. Vivace Ma Non Troppo - 16:18
IV. Finale - Vivace - 22:20

Writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, Wilhelm Altmann, the respected chamber music critic notes that all of Bruch's chamber music is distinguished by its beauty of tone. The Second Quartet is particularly effective. The themes to the opening movement, Allegro maestoso, is full of vigor and sport a Mendelssohnian aura. The breadth of the movement approaches the orchestral. A slow movement, Andante quasi adagio, follows. It begins as a simple song, but Bruch exhibits a mastery of form in the wealth of elaboration with which he treats it. The middle section provides a particularly fine contrast. The main theme of the scherzo-like third movement, Vivace ma non troppo, has a very powerful and original rhythm which carries all before it. There are two fine trios, the first smooth and flowing, the second also with an unusual rhythm. The lively finale, Vivace, moves forward with great élan to conclude what is a first rate work, particularly so for a young man of 23.