Saturday, November 2, 2019

Vogler Quartett’s Dvořák Advances at a Snail’s Pace

courtesy of Naxos of America

The first volume released by the German cpo label in the project of the Vogler Quartett to record all of the string quartet music composed by Antonín Dvořák was a two-CD album released in November of 2012. The second volume, consisting of another two CDs, did not appear until February of 2015. Continuing at this snail’s pace, the third volume surfaced late in this past September with another two CDs. Given that there are ten CDs of string quartet performances in the Brilliant Classics Dvořák Edition collection, I shudder a bit to think whether the Vogler project will conclude in my lifetime.

Granted, the performances themselves are satisfying. They are attentive to the marks on paper; and the group itself (which still consists of violinists Tim Vogler and Frank Reinecke, violist Stefan Fehlandt, and cellist Stephan Forck) definitely know how to bring expressiveness to those marks. Nevertheless, there is a sense that, over the course of the first two volumes, the ensemble dealt with the compositions that appealed to them the most. Now they need to address the ones that tend to receive little, if any, attention in most chamber music recitals; and there is some sense that the players have come to realize why those compositions have been neglected.

Much as I appreciate thorough projects, I would be so bold as to suggest that those interested in the Dvořák string quartet repertoire will probably be sufficiently satisfied with the four CDs that make up the first two volumes of this project that there may be no need to venture into that less familiar domain.

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