Felix Draeseke String Quartets, Vol. 2 improves upon Vol. 1

Felix Draeseke only wrote three string quartets. The first two were released in Volume 1. Volume 2 rounds out the program with two other chamber works by Draeseke. Not to worry — all these works are worth a listen.

Draeseke admired both Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt. His own composition shows their influences, but only in part. The free-flowing melodies emulate Wagner’s.

But Draeseke seems more concerned with the formal structure of the quartet. And also its tonal centers. For me, this quartet leaned more towards Brahms than Wagner.

Also included is the Scene for Violin and Piano. This is only one of two works for this instrumental combination by  Draeseke. It’s a showpiece for violin, and Emeline Pierre rises to the occasion.

Draeseke composed the Suite for Two Violins in F-sharp minor when he was 75. He wrote it for two young violinists who performed at his salons. It’s an interesting work, quite serious and expressive. Emeline Pierre and Ester Guitierrez Redondo, the Constanze Quartett violinists, perform here.

Draeseke’s violinists were sisters. The success of the music depends on the strong connection between the performers. Pierre and Redondo have that connection. Their performance makes the piece the dialogue it was intended to be.

In my review of Volume 1, I complained about the sound quality of the recording. Happily, that’s not the issue here. The instruments still have a rounded warmth to them. But the overall sound is clean and clear.

Felix Draeseke: String Quartets, Vol. 2
Quartet Op. 66; Scene Op. 69; Suite, Op. 86
Constanze Quartett
CPO 555 350-2

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