Home listening: Dvořák, Bach and sons, and at home with John Tomlinson
BY: Fiona Maddocks
In our new column rounding up classical music on CD and online: Jerusalem Quartet and friends, three Magnificats from Arcangelo... and the Lancastrian bass on Radio 3
On the CD player as soon it arrived, this album of irresistible, larger scale chamber music – Dvořák’s String Quintet No 3, Op 97 and String Sextet, Op 48 – by the Jerusalem Quartet with Veronika Hagen (viola) and Gary Hoffman (cello) on Harmonia Mundi doesn’t disappoint. Each work bursts with wistful, catchy folk melodies and that subtle abundance of sound of, essentially, an enlarged string quartet. Dvořák composed Op 97 in 1893 in Spillville, Iowa, that small outpost of Bohemia where he also wrote the “American” Quartet.
The earlier Sextet, Op 48, with stylised “dumka” and “furiant”, is altogether more Slavonic in mood. Tender, melancholy yet jaunty, with a hint of Brahms, it deserves to be more widely known. The high-octane Jerusalem Quartet, Hagen and Hoffman keep textures clear and deliver fresh, sparkling performances.