Sergej Prokofjev
String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, Sonata for Two Violins

SU 3957-2, release date 15. 1. 2010

The Pavel Haas Quartet, one of the very finest chamber ensembles of the present time, earned for their first two CDs (Janáček, Pavel Haas) numerous prestigious accolades (Classic FM Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine Award, Cannes MIDEM Classical Award, etc.). With the Prokofiev pieces featured on this album the Quartet has for the first time entered the field of the Russian (or, if you will, international) repertoire.
Prokofiev plunged into writing his first quartet in 1930 during his first sojourn in America on the basis of a commission from the Library of Congress inWashington DC. The “classically” sounding work blends the easily distinguishable inspiration by Beethoven’s quartets and the typically Prokofievian pungency and lyricism. The duet, written in Paris, is an inconspicuous yet masterly small-scale work of art and alongside Bartok’s 44 violin duets ranks among the paramount opuses of this genre. The second quartet came into being in 1941 in the Caucasus, where the Soviet government had moved the artistic elites and their families so as to protect them against the Nazi onslaught. Here Prokofiev came across untouched folk material which he sensitively, humbly and with the precise degree of artistic stylisation incorporated into the “Kabardinian” quartet. Their sheer musicality and ferocious youthful energy make the Pavel Haas Quartet an ideal interpreter of these gems of Prokofiev’s chamber oeuvre.