Erich Wolfgang Korngold is best remembered today for his popular film scores for Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk, among other Hollywood classics, and for his opera Die tote Stadt, but his oeuvre of concert and chamber music has been undergoing a gradual revival since the 1970s, with a steady increase of recordings of key works. The three string quartets are represented in the catalog on a handful of CDs, but they remain somewhat exclusive items for string players and connoisseurs and have yet to be widely performed. This album by the Doric String Quartet does the music justice, and anyone who enjoys late-Romantic string writing will find Korngold's musical vocabulary familiar, from his lush harmonies and wide-ranging modulations to rich thematic developments and gorgeous melodies. He was also adept at instrumental repartée, which is a hallmark of the greatest string quartets, so the exchanges are always fresh and lively in the tradition of Mozart and Haydn. The Doric has a firm grasp of Korngold's virtuosic string writing, which involves virtually all the special techniques prior to Bartók's innovations, and displays a high frequency of double- and triple-stops. Chandos' recording is intimate and detailed, but there is sufficient resonance and space to keep the strings from sounding gritty.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|String Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 16|
|String Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 26|
4. Waltz (Finale). Tempo di Valse - Meno mosso - Poco più mosso - Poco meno mosso - [Poc più mosso] - Meno mosso - Poco più mosso - Grandioso - Più mosso
|String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 34|