James chooses his favourite recordings of the music of Korngold, best known for his Violin Concerto as well as numerous operas and film scores.
The Doric String Quartet is now firmly established as one of the outstanding quartets of its generation. Now in its eleventh season, it regularly performs at major festivals and venues throughout the UK as well as abroad in continental Europe and Asia. This is the Quartet’s debut CD on Chandos as exclusive artists.
Most famous for his lushly romantic film scores, Erich Wolfgang Korngold wrote a quantity of music for the concert hall, the stage, as well as three highly individual string quartets between the years 1920 and 1945. Korngold was one of the great prodigies in the history of classical music, and by the time he started work on his First String Quartet (completed 1923), he had already written what many consider to be his magnum opus, the opera Die tote Stadt.
The three quartets range widely in style and are all very appealing. The First is notable for its strikingly adventurous harmony, the Second (1933) for its sheer wealth of melodic appeal, whilst the Third (1945) uses material from his film scores, and is as varied and dramatic as many of the films which he scored.
‘This is an ensemble, young but mature of insight, that plays Haydn’s music with spirit, illuminating its blend of wit and sophistication, grace and vivacity, cunning and seemingly effortless spontaneity… The Doric’s performances, without exaggeration but with just the right degree of elucidation, revealed the music’s extraordinary originality and the way that Haydn can explore the potential of his thematic material so thoroughly yet so artlessly… Unequivocally, these were performances of terrific panache and perception, seeming to get right under the skin of Haydn’s creative genius.’ The Sunday Telegraph, 18 January 2009
‘Great wisdom and no self-indulgence’ The Strad, 2008