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Classical Music Review

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Composer: Leoš Janáček, Karol Szymanowski and Maurice Ravel
Performed by: Verona Quartet
Label: Azica
RRP: £13.99
7 87867 13392 7
Release Date: 25 June 2021

The Verona Quartet release their debut album, Diffusion, on Azica Records. Through the intimate voice of the string quartet, Diffusion explores a mosaic of folk cultures through the lens of Leoš Janáček’s 'String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters,”' Karol Szymanowski’s 'String Quartet No. 2 Op. 56', and Maurice Ravel’s 'String Quartet in F Major M. 35'. As an ensemble of four nations (Singapore, Canada, United States, and United Kingdom), the Verona Quartet reveals a kaleidoscopic snapshot of cultural migration at the turn of the century...

For a debut album Verona Quartet do a remarkable job of sounding like they've been releasing albums for years on Diffusion. All of the pieces on this album feel like the performers have been playing them for years, yet still manage to inject a level of energy that shows they love and appreciate the work.

Talking about the album, the Verona Quartet explains: "As a quartet of musicians hailing from across the world, we knew we wanted our first album to reflect the essence of the cultural migration that is such a big part of our identity. Through Diffusion, we celebrate the spirit of intercultural exploration that permeates many of the great works of the string quartet canon. This music and the weaving together of global traditions is incredibly meaningful to us and we hope that listeners will love it too."

To be fair it's not overly important, as interesting as it is, to know this. If you're coming to this album raw you aren't missing something by not knowing this fact about the project.

There's a fluidity and attention to detail here that only comes with a group of musicians who are in tune and respect each other and the material. The Verona Quartet bring these pieces to life beautifully. Certainly one worth adding to your music library.

Track listing:

Leoš Janáček
String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters”
01. I. Andante [5:58]
02. II. Adagio [5:53]
03. III. Moderato [5:24]
04. IV. Allegro [8:04]

Karol Szymanowski
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56
05. I. Moderato dolce e tranquillo [7:18]
06. II. Vivace, scherzando [4:55]
07. III. Lento [5:33]

Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F Major, M. 35
08. I. Allegro moderato - très doux [7:58]
09. II. Assez vif - très rythmé [6:09]
10. III. Très lent [8:32] 11. IV. Vif et agité [4:52]


Darren Rea

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