Dip Your Ears... ( 14 ) 

E. Bloch, String Quartets 1-4, The Griller Quartet
I can’t honestly say that I knew that Ernest Bloch had written string quartets. Violin Concerto, Israel Symphony, the cello-evergreen Schelomo: yes. And good; all of it. But I was not prepared for this stunning discovery. In his four (of five - the fifth having been composed after this record was made) string quartets–the 2nd perhaps the primus inter pares–he gives Shostakovich a run for his money with his ravishingly rhythmic, increasingly chromatic style. Composed in 1916, 45, 52 and 53, this music has a kick to it that belies the mellow style of Schelomo and the age of these 1954 mono recordings. Anyone wondering where the famous “Decca-sound” came from might well start here. Anyone with even the faintest interest in 20th century chamber music has a duty to him/herself to explore this budget priced double CD. Dedicated to one composer, unearthing masterpieces, splendidly played, eerily good sound: this is my favorite of the Decca Original Masters series.

[The Griller String Quartet – Decca 475 6071]

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