Korngold: String Quartets Nos. 1-3 / Tippett Quartet

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Erich Wolfgang Korngold wrote a significant body of chamber music (the Piano Trio and String Sextet are on Naxos 8.574008). His three String Quartets reflect differing periods of composition. The First marries impetuousness with enticing harmonies and rapt eloquence. The Second dates from 1933 and has great clarity and rhythmic impetus, with a full complement of Korngold’s lyricism. The post-war Third is more relaxed, unexpectedly juxtaposing the archaic and modern with a joyful conclusion. The acclaimed Tippett Quartet can also be heard in works by Bax, Górecki, Panufnik, Penderecki, Rozsa and Michael Tippett.


What the album emphasizes convincingly are the links between these supposedly discrete incarnations, while giving equal weight to the quartets’ intriguing accommodation of high Romanticism and a more experimental tonality. Throughout, the Tippett ties these threads together with infinite diligence and love.

-- The Sunday Times (UK)

These three contrasting quartets cover more than twenty years of Korngold’s creative life, from his post-wunderkind years in Vienna to his time in the United States as primarily a composer of Hollywood film scores. String Quartet No. 1 in A major (1922-3) was written two years after his huge success with his operatic masterpiece ‘Die Tote Stadt’ and demonstrates his mastery of the quartet medium. The opening sounds terse and astringent Hindemith-like but within two minutes the textures become lusher and we are in Korngold’s familiar richly melodic world. There’s a similar mixture in the Quartet No. 2 in E flat Major (1933) with a lovely ‘Con moto sentimento’ slow movement and a deft waltz variation finale. The 1945 Quartet No. 3 in D is a delightful work with a witty and catchy folk tune slow movement. The Tippett Quartet are on top form throughout and the recording quality is first class.

-- Midlands Music Review

Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 10, 2023

  • Catalog Number: 8574428

  • UPC: 747313442874

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Tippett Quartet


  1. String Quartet No. 1 in A Major, Op. 16

    Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

    Ensemble: Tippett Quartet

  2. String Quartet No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 26

    Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

    Ensemble: Tippett Quartet

  3. String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 34

    Composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

    Ensemble: Tippett Quartet