Love stories – literary, clandestine and youthful – provide an intense background for the three works on this recording, and each one dates from the beginning of the 20th century. Under the Analekta label, the Cecilia String Quartet has Love and all its meanings, vibrating through their strings, thanks to their “opulent sonority... deeply felt imperativeness and affection” (The Strad). AMOROSO is an album that goes up and down the musical path through a wide range of emotions: passion, pleasure, jealousy, betrayal... This string quartet, composed of Min-Jeong Koh (violin) Sarah Nematallah (violin), Caitlin Boyle (viola) and Rachel Desoer (cello), gives us, with all the expressiveness of their extraordinary talent, the different facets of love, as they were perceived by three composers from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century: Czech composer Leoš Janácek, as well as Alban Berg and Anton Webern, both representing the Second Viennese School.
Inspired by Léon Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata (itself written in reference to Beethoven's sonata for violin and piano bearing the same name), Czech composer Leoš Janácek depicts, in all four movements of his First quartet, the consuming and murderous passion that subjugates the 19th century woman. “I had in mind a poor woman, tormented, beaten, battered to death...”, he wrote to Kamila Stösslová, his confidante who would later become his mistress.
Alban Berg's Lyric Suite evokes his own clandestine love stories through a four-note musical cell that is at the heart of the suite's six movements. The notes of this suite are derived from the initials of Berg and Hanna Fuchs-Roberttin, the wife of an industrialist from Prague, with whom he had discreet love affair that lasted ten years. All six states of love describe a plethora of emotions – jovial, amorous, mysterious, passionate and delirious – and are similar to a “wordless opera”.
In the unique slow movement embedded in tonal music (unlike the majority of his work), Anton Webern is inspired by his own personal true story: the Langsamer Satz begins with nostalgia and dramatic agitation and ends with a peaceful and smooth conclusion.
The Cecilia String Quartet continues to win praise following their 2012 First Prize of the Banff International String Quartet Competition. “The balance between expressiveness and interplay was almost dauntingly perfect,” wrote the Berliner Zeitung. The Quartet keep multiplying tours and concerts, performing in Europe, Canada and the United States. It has won many international prizes, and their concert recordings are broadcast on dozens of radio stations all around the world. The recording of the AMOROSO album renders justice to the sensibility and the infinite expressiveness of these ladies and have us feel, love in its all glory.