CD: Glazunov: String Quartets Nos 3 & 5: Utrecht String Quartet

(Dabringhaus & Grimm)

Alexander Glazunov composed seven string quartets altogether, the first five before he was 35. None of them is a regular part of the quartet literature nowadays, and the young Prokofiev and Shostakovich both dismissed Glazunov's music as hopelessly old-fashioned, but as these performances by the Utrecht Quartet (the first release in a projected cycle) show, the Third and Fifth Quartets are pleasant enough works, in which the Russian tradition, stemming from Glinka and Mussorgsky, is skilfully fused with the German romanticism of Schumann and Mendelssohn.

No 3, finished in 1888, is more of a suite than a sonata-based work, a sequence of dances from all manner of Slavic traditions, while the Fifth is much more thematically coherent, with a striking slow movement. The Dutch performances are suitably warm-toned and generous in their rubato.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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