Solitude – Mendelssohn, Des Prez, Weinberg, Sjostakovitsj, Gesualdo
The theme of this recording is loneliness: the price of grief, farewell, desperation, and detachment. Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) wrote his quietly desperate String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 in memory of his beloved sister Fanny.
Josquin des Prez (c. 1450–1521) grieves the loss of a lover in his Mille regretz (1520), originally a four part chanson: ‘I regret leaving you a thousand times over / to leave your beloved face behind.’
Weinberg wrote his three movement String Quartet No. 3 Op. 14 in 1944 at the tail end of the war. The notes beat down as a desolate echo of sadness beyond imagination, with an astonished irony seeping through.
Dmitri Shostakovich’s (1906–1975) Elegy, from Two Pieces for String Quartet (1931), revolves around similar themes of yearning and loss, although here the unfulfilled desire is for something that was never possessed: happiness.
Carlo Gesualdo (1566–1613) is both perpetrator and victim. In his five voice Moro Lasso (sixth book of Madrigals, 1611) he struggles with a lifetime of insoluble guilt. In 1590, Gesualdo had murdered his first wife and her lover. He could not overcome his feelings of remorse, and made his second wife’s life a misery.
— Bas van Putten, from the booklet notes
Solitude – Album trailer
Gesualdo – Madrigali a 5 voci, libro sesto: ‘Moro, lasso, al mio duolo’
Live recording at Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam, 25 October 2019. The arrangement was made by our cellist David Faber.
The Dudok Quartet get right to the heart of the Mendelssohn. It’s a very fine performance. Every movement of Weinberg’s piece speaks of his bleak existence, none more so than in the andante sostenuto, a miniature concerto for the first violin, exquisitely played by Judith van Driel.’
— The Guardian —
‘Gripping performances and programming flair. You’ll find yourself within the prickling skins of these works – and on the edge of your seat.’
— The Strad —
‘Creating a concept quartet album is something of a speciality of the Dudok Quartet. Does it work as a musical experience? In a word, yes. And their immaculate ensemble is very impressive.’
— Gramophone —
‘This powerfully expressive young group begin their exploration of loneliness with the searing heartbreak of Mendelssohn’s F minor quartet. Two small Renaissance transcriptions make touching transitions, Gesualdo’s Moro lasso, with its harmonic bleakness, sitting oddly well after Shostakovich’s affecting five-minute Elegy.’
— The Sunday Times —
‘The Dudok Quartet bring sensitivity and fine balance to these works.’
— Lark Reviews —