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Juilliard String Quartet - The Complete RCA Recordings - Now Available on Sony Classical
Source: Jensen Artists

“To play the standard repertoire with the sense of excitement and discovery of a new work and play new works with a reverence usually reserved for the classics”: that was the mission of the Juilliard String Quartet when it was founded in 1946 at New York’s elite conservatory by its then director, composer William Schuman. Within a short time, it had leapt to the forefront of the American chamber-music scene and embarked on what would become an exceptionally long and distinguished recording career.

Now, following up its acclaimed reissue of the Juilliard Quartet’s early releases on Columbia’s Epic label, Sony Classical is pleased to present a single 11-disc collection – comprising Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, Dvořák and Wolf, Debussy and Ravel, Berg and Webern, and Elliot Carter and William Schuman – of all the recordings that the Juilliard made during its brief stint at RCA Victor between 1957 and 1960 including 4 LPs appearing for the first time on CD, remastered from the original analog masters.

In the words of a ClassicsToday critic reviewing an earlier reissue of several of these performances, the ensemble’s “lean sonorities, rhythmic exactitude, relatively swift tempos, and energetic, often virtuosic playing that illuminated a repertoire heavy in contemporary music … created quite a stir when it turned to the Viennese classics with its RCA recordings of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. At the time, the sprung rhythms, wide dynamics, and straight-ahead playing that refused to wallow in melodic beauties made the group’s interpretations seem outside the mainstream. But ‘mainstream’ tends to shift over time; we now can hear these recordings in a changed context that makes them pioneering ventures blazing new paths.”

One could also bestow this accolade on other performances in the new set, such as the quartet’s revelatory reading of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden”, Berg’s Lyric Suite and the French coupling, about which High Fidelityobserved: “The Juilliard players do not soften, sentimentalize, or languish over this music, but emphasize its link with classic tradition, employing brisk tempos and powerful, straightforward rhythms. The result is quite astonishing: Debussy and Ravel come out more moving and beautiful than ever.”  

Mozart: String Quartet No. 14 in G Major, K. 387 "Spring" (Remastered)
Mozart: String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465 "Dissonant" (Remastered)

Haydn: String Quartet No. 57 in C Major, Op. 74, No. 1, Hob.III:72 (Remastered)
Haydn: String Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No. 1, Hob.III:81 "Lobkowitz" (Remastered)

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 "Rasumovsky" (Remastered)
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18 No. 2 (Remastered)

Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden"
Schubert: String Quartet No. 12 in C Minor, D. 703 "Quartettsatz"

Debussy: String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10, L. 85
Ravel: String Quartet in F Major, M. 35

Carter: String Quartet No. 2
Schuman: String Quartet No. 3

Berg: Lyric Suite
Webern: Five Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 5
Webern: Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 "Serioso"
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135

DISC 10:
Dvořák: String Quartet No. 11, Op. 61, B. 121
Wolf: Italian Serenade

DISC 11:
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132 (Remastered)

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