Skampa Quartet, Janacek: String Quartets

Daphne Carr

By Daphne Carr

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Janacek: String Quartets

Skampa Quartet

Somewhat provincial Czech composer Leos Janácek has increasingly been celebrated for his operas and vocal works, which bridge 19th-century Romanticism with the increasing dissonance of 20th-century composition. The terse, dramatic quartets were revised by the Smetana Quartet's Milan Skampa, and performed with ferocity by the Prague-based Skampa Quartet. No. 2, "Intimate Letters," reflects Janácek's late-in-life love for a woman 38 years younger — the outpouring of passion in growling hammer strokes on the Andante makes for some of the most daring Janácek string listening.