Chevalier de Saint-Georges Concertante Quartets Shine

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a busy guy. He was a champion swordsman, military commander, and athlete. He was also a violin virtuoso, conductor, and composer. And while his musical career was brief, Bologne composed an impressive body of music.

This release presents six of Bologne’s eighteen published string quartets. His contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart followed Haydn’s model for quartet writing. Four stringed instruments, each an equal partner in the music-making.

Bologne wrote concertante quartets. Here the balance is different. The first violin is the star, and the other three instruments have supporting roles. Bologne wrote these works to perform in concert, with himself as the first violinist, of course!

The quartets show Bologne’s skill as a composer. They’re compact works that show a mastery of form and function. Bologne’s melodies are engaging and elegantly crafted.

The Arabella String Quartet has a nice ensemble sound. The first violin is the focus in these pieces. But Bologne also gives the other instruments opportunities to shine. The Arabella Quartet makes the most of these passages.

The players make these works sound like collaborative conversations. It’s a good aesthetic choice. By righting the balance a little, they make these quartets more interesting.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Six Concertante Quartets
Arabella String Quartet

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