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BOHEMIAN STRING QUARTET PLAYS SMETANA, DVORAK & SUK
BOHEMIAN STRING QUARTET PLAYS SMETANA, DVORAK & SUK

BOHEMIAN STRING QUARTET PLAYS SMETANA, DVORAK & SUK

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The Bohemian String Quartet was one of the most important ensembles to make early chamber music recordings. After making a few acoustical recordings of string quartet movements and of Dvořák’s “American” Quartet, the Bohemian Quartet made electrical recordings in 1928 of complete quartets by Smetana, Dvořák, and Josef Suk–Dvořák’s pupil and son-in-law, and the second violinist of the ensemble.

The Bohemian Quartet was founded in 1892. All its members were trained in the romantic tradition of performance, clearly audible in the freedom of rhythm and overtly emotional quality of its performances. The Smetana Quartet in particular is played in a manner far removed from its typical performance today. These players learned the original style of Smetana. Suk’s Quartet, rarely heard today, is played with a revised finale which was never published and thus can be heard only in this recording.

Although subject to the limitations of early electrical recording, the Bohemian Quartet’s recordings have been restored with up-to-date technology by the esteemed audio engineer Ward Marston. The timings of the combined quartets run to over 80 minutes but they have all been included on this single CD.


Smetana: String Quartet No. 1, in E Minor, “From My Life” (1876) 28:06
[1] Allegro vivo appassionato [7:39]
[2] Allegro moderato à la Polka [5:17]
[3] Largo sostenuto [8:23]
[4] Vivace [6:47]

Dvořák: String Quartet No. 12, in F, Op. 96, “American” (1893) 23:34
[1] Allegro ma non troppo [7:14]
[2] Lento [8:00]
[3] Molto vivace [3:24]
[4] Finale: vivace ma non troppo [4:56]

Suk: String Quartet No. 1, in B Flat, Op. 11 (1896, finale revised 1915) 29:05
[1] Allegro moderato [8:38]
[2] Intermezzo: Tempo di marcia [3:52]
[3] Adagio ma non troppo [9:22]
[4] Allegro giocoso {7:04] (revised, unpublished version)