add to wish list | library

19 of 19 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below. As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.
  Praga Digitals -
  PRD/DSD 250 222
  Borodin: String Quartet No. 1, String Quintet - Kocian Quartet, Kanka
  Borodin: String Quartet No. 1, String Quintet

Kocian Quartet
Michal Kanka (cello)
Track listing:
  Classical - Chamber
Recording type:
Recording info:

delete from library | delete recommendation | report errors
Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 3

Review by Beagle September 6, 2006 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Borodin, the bastard aristocrat and medical research chemist, wrote better music in the odd spare moment than most dedicated composers write in a lifetime; he simply had no time to produce reams of derivative bumf. It's all remarkably good, but the Quartets stand out as gems of his maturity -- no. 2 shamelessly borrowed by Broadway and Hollywood, and thus making Borodin's music if not Borodin popularly known. Quartet no. 2 should be here on this disc with its companion, but it is not.

Quartet no. 1 is here, and 'in glorious technicolor'. I am appreciative of all of Praga's chamber issues on SACD, but a quick glance at my most-favourite discs (Haydn Appolonyis, Czech Degenerates, Borodin) reveals that they are by the Kocian, not the Prazak Quartet. I had suspected a difference in recording approach, but perhaps it's the musicians. I have never quite enjoyed the sound of the Praga/Prazak Beethoven op. 18, finding it edgy and aggressive. Quite oppositely, the Kocian discs manage to be well-defined but warm, a viola-friendly sound (and my ideal of string timbre).

The music-making is spirited in pace, and good-spirited in attitude (Borodin can be milked for sentiment). My reference disc is the Borodin Quartet on EMI, but I also have the St Pete's on Sony. The Kocianovo are somewhat brisker than either in all but the Scherzo prestissimo, where they play a bit less recklessly than the competition; all very satisfying. The tempos create a music wisely distant from either classical gallop or romantic swoon. Only one cello note seems slightly truncated, a small price to pay for otherwise-glorious playing. I am not certain of the placement of the players: there is a good bit of viola coming through the left channel. Half-star withheld, just to leave room for IsoMike.

The Quintet is played and recorded here just as handsomely as the quartet, and follows nicely on its coat-tails. But! it is a young man's work and not of the same musical stature as the quartets. The quintet would be a welcome addition to the higher-fi repertoire if Quartet no. 2 existed on SACD in a better form than it does (it exists in dilute form on the RPO/Membran disc). The quint could have been coupled with the 1855 Trio on a russian folksong as volume 2 of a marvelous Borodin chamber series.... Too bad.

If you don't have ANY chamber music on your SACD shelf, get one of the Praga/Kocian discs. This one is especially approachable -- even hum-able, even hug-able.

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by Whitehall May 12, 2007 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Borodin is my favorite composer of chamber works and this SACD is a natural combination of his heart-felt music and DSD's smooth and warm sound. Redbook CDs just can seem to get the violins in particular right - too much decimation shows up as grain and high pitch warble when the sound should be a continuous stream.

The 1st quartet is the star here. The playing is very lovely and affecting. As another reviewer noted, why oh why can't we have a quality DCD recording of the 2nd quartet by a top notch group? The first is more formal than the second and more "professional" in nature but still has that Borodin heart and soul.

I'm sooo glad I own this one.

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by ct September 17, 2006 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
First, I want to thank Beagle for his fine and thorough review of this release. I am no Bordin expert - but this chamber work is absolutely delightful. It reminds me of Mendelssohn and Schubert, and Tchaikovsky's String Quartet's. It has a refreshing quality both in composition, and in the Kocian's playing. Very sophisticated and charming. Well worth purchasing.

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Works: 2  

Alexander Borodin - String Quartet No. 1 in A major
Alexander Borodin - String Quintet