Saint-Georges: Six Concertante Quartets / Arabella String Quartet

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This is wonderful advocacy of enchanting music.

A brilliant swordsman, athlete, violin virtuoso and composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalierde Saint-Georges might well lay claim to being the most talented figure in an age of remarkable individuals. The string quartet was still in its infancy in France in the 1770s,but while these pieces are small in scale they are exceptionally rewarding. Saint-Georges appreciated the intimate nature of this genre, avoiding overt soloistic virtuosity and exploring chamber music timbres, amply demonstrating his rich lyrical gifts and a natural ability to delight performers and audiences alike.


The Six Concertante Quartets were typical of the still nascent genre of French string quartets in the 1770s when they were composed. Elegant and fun, these delectable works were intended for ‘amateurs’, a word that still referred in the thriving French scene to music lovers rather than implying lower skill levels.

There’s certainly no lack of prowess in these delightful performances. The  Arabellas wisely err on the side of briskness for the faster music, but with no loss of grace or refinement. They also appropriately add little ornaments and variants, making the fifth quartet’s ‘Gratioso’ a model of tasteful decoration. Occasionally more could be made of the score’s relatively few dynamic markings, though the boomy acoustic does not help. And violinists Julie Eskar and Sarita Kwok might have sat opposite each other to highlight when phrases flit back and forth between them. In all, though, this is wonderful advocacy of enchanting music.

-- BBC Music Magazine

Product Description:

  • Release Date: May 27, 2022

  • Catalog Number: 8574360

  • UPC: 747313436071

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Classical

  • Composer: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Arabella String Quartet


  1. Quartetto concertans (6) for String Quartet

    Composer: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

    Ensemble: Arabella String Quartet