Antonín Dvořák: Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 81 & String Quintet Op. 97

Gramophone Award
Chamber Award (2018)
Editor's Choice
Gramophone (2017)
Album of the Week
The Sunday Times (2017)
Recording of the Month
BBC Music Magazine (2017)
Recording of the Week
Presto Classical (2017)
Recording of the Year
Presto Classical (2017)
Diapason d´Or
Diapason (2018)
Choc de Classica
Classica (2018)

Audio samples

Antonín Dvořák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81 (B. 155)

01. Allegro, ma non tanto
02. Dumka. Andante con moto
03. Scherzo (Furiant). Molto vivace
04. Finale. Allegro

Antonín Dvořák: String Quintet in E flat major, Op. 97 (B. 180)

01. Allegro non tanto
02. Allegro vivo
03. Larghetto
04. Finale. Allegro giusto

Album information

SU4195-2, release date 20. 10. 2017

The Pavel Haas Quartet, joined by violist Pavel Nikl, certainly capture his reflective mood in the introduction to the first movement, but they also secure a sure-footed balance between tenderness and giddy celebration. Equally impressive is the scherzo in which the exuberant ‚hoedown‘ of the main section contrasts with a magically beautiful performance of the trio. Throughout the slow movement, the playing of the solo lines is captivating and the finale is both sophisticated in delivery while communicating irrepressible energy.


Seven years after they triumphed with Dvořák's quartets (SU 4038-2, op. 96 "American" and op. 106 - Gramophone Award "Recording of the Year"), Pavel Haas Quartet are back to Dvořák. For the occasion of recording his quintets, they have invited two guests: the pianist Boris Giltburg (winner of 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition), as well as one of the PHQ founding members, violist Pavel Nikl. Antonín Dvořák composed his Piano Quintet No. 2 while staying at his beloved summer house in Vysoká in the late summer of 1887. The renowned critic Eduard Hanslick responded to its performance in Vienna enthusiastically: "It is one of his most beautiful works. A genuine Dvořák." The String Quintet op. 97 , albeit only six years younger, presents a completely "different Dvořák". After the Symphony from the New World and the "American" quartet, the string quintet is the composer's third work written in America. Besides drawing inspiration from the music of the Native American tribe of the Iroquois which he heard in Spillville in the summer of 1893, he built the third movement around a theme that he had previously considered using in a proposal for a new American anthem. And Hanslick's testimonial? "This is probably the simplest, most natural and happiest music composed since Haydn's times. The ear enjoys it with an easy-going attitude and the spirit is not bored for a single moment." Pavel Haas Quartet is at home in Dvořák's music - to quote the Sunday Times, "In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today."

The brilliant, Technicolor recordings of the Pavel Haas Quartet have won it an impressive array of awards since its inception in 2002. More will surely follow for this latest excursion into the works of Dvořák. The playing is breathtakingly good, each performer maintaining their own personality and yet working together to conjure a special magic, whether in the sparkling “furiant” of the piano quintet No 2 in A major, Op 81 (with Boris Giltburg at his most mercurial), or the dreamy, song-like opening movement of the string quintet in E flat major, Op 97, redolent of the wide-open spaces of rural Iowa. Highly recommended.


Something that always takes my breath away with this quartet is the range and breadth of dynamics and tone colours that they produce, as well as the perfect blend of sound that they make whilst still allowing individual members’ contributions to come to the fore when required. The very opening of the piano quintet is a case in point: with its gentle cello melody supported solely by a rocking piano accompaniment it makes for a beautifully hushed opening, and as played here by cellist Peter Jarůšek it is simply sublime. Take also the first movement of the string quintet, where the players move from digging in with such force that it sounds like their strings are about to snap, to the most delicately tender chords.


Another Pavel Haas Quartet disc, another triumph. They seem always immersed in all they play, both in terms of their rapport but their instinctive understanding of the score too.


Throughout the album with such inspiring musicianship PHQ successfully deal with the challenges of varying emotional depth and meter of the scores. (…) The Pavel Haas Quartet continues its tradition of adding excellently performed albums to its discography.


The interpretations and recording of this cd are at a very high standard. Boris Giltburg’s colorful playing supports the brilliantly playing Pavel Haas Quartet.


L´investissement et l´inspiration des interprètes ne failblissent pas une seconde: au milieu de prises de vues panoramiques, on leur retrouve des accents aussi radicalement fouettés que chez Smetana en 2015 (Cinq Diapason, cf. no. 639), un art du chant à tomber … et des couleurs à faire pâlir d´envie tous ceux qui y ont tenté leur chance depuis les Talich il y a quenze ans… Apothéose!


Další alba


Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 2, 7, 8


Bedřich Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 in E minor "From My Life" & String Quartet No. 2 in D minor


Franz Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D minor „Death and the Maiden“ & String Quintet in C major


Antonín Dvořák: String Quartet in G major, Op. 106 & String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 "American"


Sergei Prokofiev: String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, Sonata for Two Violins


Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 "Kreutzer Sonata" & Pavel Haas: String Quartets Nos 1 & 3


Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters" & Pavel Haas: String Quartet No. 2 "From the Monkey Mountains"

Complete discography