The Brodsky Quartet

Petits-Fours: Favourite Encores

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The string quartet repertoire is dominated by the impressive masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bartók, and Shostakovich, so it would seem that there's little room for light music among these heavyweights. However, the members of string quartets are like other musicians in needing appealing short pieces to round out their programs, and even though there aren't many popular bon-bons for string quartet ready to hand, there are now enough to be gathered on one delightful CD. The Brodsky Quartet has delved into the standards and recorded them on numerous occasions, so it is with an air of fun and relaxation that they offer Petits-Four: Favourite Encores on Chandos. Many of the pieces are familiar in different instrumentation -- the string quartet arrangements are by Brodsky alumnus Andrew Haveron, and active members Paul Cassidy, Ian Belton, and Jacqueline Thomas -- so listeners may be pleasantly surprised to hear these clever versions, which are true to the originals but perfectly suited to four string players. Highlights of this album include the joyous Zapateado of Pablo de Sarasate, the jaunty Humoresque of Dvorák, with a guest appearance by pianist Philip Edward Fisher, who also plays on pieces by Schumann and Shostakovich, and Fritz Kreisler's Caprice viennois, which features Robert Smissen on viola. The shortness of the selections make this an agreeable collection for listeners who only need a little string quartet music, though the whole CD is quite practical for entertaining or for use as background music, thanks to the music's warm and genial tone.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:48
Siete Canciones Pupulares Españolas
2 1:17
3 3:20
4 3:41
Pieces (2), Op. 15
5 3:12
6 4:10
Pieces (2), Op. 15
7 4:15
8 3:25
9 3:17
10 4:22
11 3:41
12 2:45
13 1:56
14 1:15
15 3:05
Valses nobles et sentimentales
16 0:48
Sonata in G major for Violin and Piano
17 5:29
The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33
18 1:42
Duets (5) for Two Violins and Piano
19 2:49
Suite for Variety Orchestra
20 3:35
21 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick