This new CD by the internationally acclaimed, Madrid-based Cuarteto Quiroga, performing with gut strings and historically informed criteria, presents an eloquent anthology of the string quartet production in Goya’s
Madrid, including two world premiere recordings, by composers Boccherini, Brunetti, Canales and de Almeida Mota.
Most music lovers around the world identify the birth of string quartet with the name of the great Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, so called by musical tradition “the father of string quartet”. The collective cultural imaginary places string quartet, thus, as a central European phenomenon, with Vienna, Mannheim, and maybe northern Italy and the Bohemian lands, as epicentres of a musical earthquake which would shake the European music scene forever.
Furthermore, when the expansion of quartet as totemic genre is studied, the names of London, Paris, Amsterdam, the court of Prussia and even the Nordic Stockholm appear consistently in the picture, but one European capital is usually left behind as culturally peripheral: Madrid.
This CD aims to illustrate musically how Madrid, in the last third of the eighteenth century, became one of the most active capitals of the European string quartet scene. Around the Royal Court, the arts flourished, and whilst the world-renowned Francisco de Goya was chamber painter for the Royal Household a group of talented, skilful composers such as Boccherini, Brunetti, Canales, Almeida and many others actively and extensively composed a large catalogue of chamber music, in particular string quartets.
Cuarteto Quiroga, Spain’s 2018 National Music Prize, quartet-in- residence at Madrid’s Cerralbo Museum and for years ensemble in residence at the Royal Collection of decorated Stradivarius instruments at Madrid’s Royal Palace, has established itself as one of the most dynamic and unique quartets of its generation. The quartet’s earlier COBRA albums “Statements” (Haydn, Webern & Sollima), “(R)evolutions” (Schoenberg, Webern, Berg), “Frei aber Einsam” (Brahms) and “Terra” (Bartok, Ginastera, Halffter) have been praised by the international press and have received multiple awards.