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  Praga Digitals -
  PRD/DSD 250 220
  Brahms: String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet - Prazak Quartet
  Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 Op. 67, Piano Quintet Op. 34

Ivan Klansky (piano)
Prazak Quartet
Track listing:
  Classical - Chamber
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1
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Review by krisjan March 28, 2010 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Brahmsís string quartets donít have the appeal of Beethovenís Ė not by a wide margin. Yet, there is very good music in all three of them, especially in the third, Op.67 (my personal favorite). The Prazakís performance is on a high level. These guys really know how to play together. If there is anything lacking here it is in the agitato second movement which is not quite agitated enough for my taste and the rather lazy tempo adopted for the finale. The remaining movements are played with excellent dynamics and good tempo choices.

The piano quintet on the other hand has long been a cherished composition in the pantheon of quintets and there have been many recordings over the years (there are 57 listed currently at Arkivmusic though there are some duplicates of several justly famous performances like that of the Budapest Quartet with Serkin). This performance by the Prazak Quartet with Ivan Klansky is a very good one. They are best in the up-tempo movements. The opening Allegro non troppo kicks things off nicely with plenty of forward momentum where needed while the third movement Scherzo is fiery and dynamic. Where I have a little bit of disappointment is in the andante second movement which lacks gravitas. Some of that is due to tempo and some due to reigned in dynamics (of the ensemble, not the sound). Overall, this is a satisfying performance of great, great music.

The sound is also very satisfying but falls short of the highest rating due to an unattractive cello boominess that makes itself apparent with certain notes. Itís as if there was a recording studio resonance mode excited by the cello in a certain mid-bass register. The recording was done in Prague in 2005 though the studio/hall is not specified (one presumes the Domovina studio since so many of the Pragaís are recorded there). The cello resonance can especially be heard in the quartet but it also appears from time to time in the quintet recording (check out track 3 at the 5:40 mark - as the music builds in intensity the cello boominess is quite evident). I played the recording at a low level to try to eliminate my listening room as the source of the boominess and I can still hear it even when played back softly so Iím pretty sure this is in the recording. Also, as seems typical with Praga, there is plenty of hall sound in the recording. I prefer a closer-up perspective for chamber music though the hall sound here doesnít obscure details to any great extent.

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Works: 2  

Johannes Brahms - Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
Johannes Brahms - String Quartet No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 67