TROUBADISC Music Production
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Fono Forum,

Sieben Komponistinnen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts werden hier mit ihren Streichquartetten in Ersteinspielungen vorgestellt. Verlangt diese Gattung einerseits größte kompositorische Meisterschaft, so läßt sie auch den eigenen, unverwechselbaren Ton der jeweiligen Komponistin ganz besonders deutlich werden.
Eine spannende, sehr kontrastreiche Werkzusammenstellung!

...Musikfreunde, die sich mit geringem Aufwand einen repräsentativen Überblick über das Kammermusikschaffen von Komponistinnen verschaffen wollen, sind mit diesen mustergültigen Aufnahmen bestens bedient!
Peter Kerbusk

Fono Forum, 

String quartets by seven 19th- and 20th? century women composers are presented on this disc in premiere recordings. While the genre demands great compositional skill on the one hand, it also permits the composer to express himself – or herself in this case – in a wholly individual manner. An exciting and richly contrasted collection of works!

...Music-lovers wishing to acquire for a modest outlay a representative overview of chamber music by female composers in the twentieth century will find that these exemplary recordings fit the bill precisely.

When the Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet began, some ten years ago, to systematically record the hitherto almost unknown chamber music by female composers, it had many prejudices to overcome. Yet the pioneering work of the quartet nurtured by the calming influence of Mr & Mrs Eggebrecht-Kupsa, has been worthwhile. By releasing the early recordings from 1989 to 1994 the ensemble offers a progress report of these pioneering years.
Peter Kerbusk

Das Orchester,  6/1998

…Die Einspielungen der zeitgenössischen Werke besitzen fesselnde interpretatorische Kraft!
Matthias Roth

IAWM Journal,  Summer 1998

The Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet’s recent CD, „String Quartets by Woman Composers”, presents seven composers spanning 150 years and six nations.

This expert ensemble, founded in 1986 by Renate Eggebrecht-Kupsa (who also produced this recording), has been a pioneer in bringing unknown works by female composers to public attention through performances and recordings, although the ensemble has not limited itself to compositions by women.

The earliest work on this CD is hardly by an unknown composer, it is Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s String Quartet in E flat (1834). This is a strong interpretation, especially as it settles into the lyrical imitation of the adagio and then sprightly bounces through the scherzo-like allegretto. The only regret is that the work ends too soon—after just two movements.
The following piece is a non sequitur to the Hensel. It is the fourth movement of Dame Ethel Smyth’s String Quartet in E Minor (1902-12). This is an energetic allegro movement that passes through a variety of moods with strong ideas that are tightly organized through motivic unity. While it is very convincing and enjoyable, its E-minor energy is jarring after the preceding and incomplete Hensel. (The complete Smyth Quartet has been recorded by the Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet and is available on a different Troubadisc?disc, along with other chamber pieces by Smyth.)

Germaine Tailleferre is one of the best-known composers on this disc. As a member of Les Six, she had more opportunity and exposure than the others presented here, so it is not surprising that her only String Quartet (1919) is singular in not being labelled as a “first recording”. It is a beautiful work, reminiscent of Ravel (with whom she studied orchestration), and the seamless blending in this performance makes one forget that four separate players are involved.

Elisabeth Lutyens has the distinction of being the first composer to write serially in England—not necessarily a welcomed first. Although she wrote 13 string quartets, her stage and vocal works are more prominent in her output. String Quartet no.6, op.25 (1952) is typical of her later style in its rhythmic freedom and  independent parts. It is dedicated to Francis Bacon (1561-1626), statesman and philosopher of the English Renaissance, who wrote about truth, love and the scientific method. Lutyens felt this work was the first in which her own style was fully realized.

A dramatic “sigh”, a descending glissando figure that serves as a unifying motive, opens the second movement of String Quartet no.6 by Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-69). The many unusual string timbres and effects are deftly handled by the performers.

Romanian composer Violeta Dinescu’s String Quartet no.1, “Terra Lonhdana” (1984), was inspired by the poetry of 12th?century troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn, in whose language “terra lonhdana” means “distant land”. The poetry has a theme of “longing” that Dinescu relates to a Romanian word that combines longing with a physical dimension as well as a painful, spiritual, fateful and cosmic dimension. Her quartet expresses this convincingly.

Gloria Coates (from Wisconsin) might seem to represent the other side of the Atlantic Ocean on this disc, exept that she has been living in Germany since 1969. Her String Quartet no.3 (1975) is the most challenging work on the CD for performers as well as for listeners.

Although micro? intervals, glissandi, polyrhythms and generally novel sound combinations create a disturbing eeriness at times, the work is successful and provides a strong conculsion to the disc.

The quartets are arranged almost chronologically, with the latest two being reversed. This arrangement, and the disappointing fact that in some cases only one or two movement are included, suggests the function of an introductory anthology.

The sound quality, however, surpasses what this reviewer has found in most other anthologies. Using 20?bit technology. The sound quality rather than the standard 16?bit allows a warmer, richer sound to prevail, and the Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet’s fine playing deserves that quality.
Tara Webb Duey
a specialist in American music, teaches at the Boyer College of Music, Temple Univesity, Philadelphia, PA 

Gramophone,  April 1998

The spectrum of women’s string quartet writing is covered here. While the Mendelssohn-Hensel and Smyth are enjoyable pieces of their time, the Tailleferre and Lutyens are altogether more personal. The Coates most completely ‘reivents’ the medium, albeit from a compositional standpoint. Variable performances, but a worthwhile sampler of an enterprising series.                     
Richard Whitehouse

OPZIJ,   November 1998
Bezeten van welluidenheid

Melomania is de woordspelige title van een recente CD met strijkkwartetten van 19e en 20ste eeuwse vrouwelijke componisten. Fraai geprogrammeerd, beschouw het als een bloemlezing van de 150-jarige geschiedenis en ontwikkeling van ‘t genre. De uitnemend het oeuvre van zeven vooraanstaande componistes.

Fanny Mendelssohn’s briljante strijkkwartet uit 1834 heeft de lyrische klank en vertrouwde vorm van de klassieke periode. Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) schrijft ook nog op die klassieke manier, maar met dezelfde stuwende energie en beweeglijkheid  die zo karakteristiek was voor deze otiginele figuur uit de Englese muziekhistrie.

Germaine Tailleferre’s frisse lichtvoetige kwartet uit 1919 vol kleur en sfeer, met subtiele dissonanten, vormt de overgang naar de modernen.

Mijlpaal in de Englese kamermuziek en middelpunt op deze CD is het complexe strijkkwartet uit 1952 van Elisabeth Lutyens, pionier van de 12-toons techniek.

Dat de Poolse componiste Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) zelf violiste was merk je aan de virtuoze eerste vioolpartij. Bijna een halve eeuw oud, maar de klank es nog steeds stark en hypnotiserend.

De jongste twee composities sluiten aan bij de avant-garde. Violeta Dinescu (Roemenië, 1953) wisselt verfijnde momenten af met harde krassen, een doorzichtig bouwwerk met interessante dialogen.

Gloria Coates (Amerika, 1938) gaat het verst. In haar String Quartet No.3 werkt zij met weinig middelen, herhalingen, gebruikt strijkers als slagwerk.

Spannend hoe dalende en stijgende lijnen in haar intense muziek elkaar kruisen. Vier van de zeven kwartetten zijn première-opnames. Het in 1986 opgerichte Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet speelt met elan en precisie. Welke van de tracks je ook kiest , ze zijn allemal even perfect van interpretatie, kernachtig en vol in uitvoering. Melomania: bezeten van welluidendheid. Een toepasselijke titel.                          
Patricia Werner Leanse


...L’initiative est heureuse: on y entendra de la musique d’une belle facture instrumentale, servie par des interprètes vigoureux.

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(18.07.2014 - 16:25 Uhr)

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Streichquartette von 7 Komponistinnen:

F.Mendeslssohn-H. Str. Es-Dur (1834) 1.u.2.Satz
E.Smyth, Str. e-Moll (1902/12) 4.Satz
G.Tailleferre, Str. (1919)
E.Lutyens, Str. Nr.6 op.25 (1952)
G.Bacewicz, Str. Nr.6 (1960) 2.u.3.Satz
V.Dinescu, Str. Nr.1 "Terra Lonhdana" (1984)
G.Coates, Str. Nr.3 (1975)

Fanny Mendelssohn Quartett 1988



















Seit Generationen hat meine Familie berühmte Naturwissenschaftler gestellt, - bis DU mit deinen musischen Ambitionen die ganze Rasse verdorben hast!
© Komponistinnen gestern-heute e.V.,
Heidelberg 1987







Ist es zu hoch gegriffen, zu behaupten, daß solche"Appetizer"
(Streichquartette  von Komponistinnen) Dank der bisherigen Arbeit gerade solcher Ensembles wie etwa des "Fanny Mendelssohn Quartetts" eigentlich gar nicht mehr nötig sind?
Matthias Roth, Das Orchester 1998