Smetana, Sibelius, and the Dante Quartet

smetana-sibelius-and-the-dante-quartet“Though both Jean Sibelius and Bedrich Smetana are well-known for their contributions to the nationalistic movements in their respective countries, the semi-autobiographical quartets of both composers (two for Smetana, one for Sibelius) instead focus on dark, tragic aspects of their own lives. Smetana’s quartets highlight some of the positive events in his life, but are more a representation of the gradual march toward deafness and the decline of his career. Sibelius, who struggled with depression and isolation, writes an equally revealing depiction of his more private inner turmoil. Performing these three emotionally charged works is the equally emotive, demonstrative Dante Quartet. Conceptually, its playing is ideal for showing listeners the very raw emotions present in these scores.” [. . .]    –Mike D. Brownell, Allmusic