With their latest Foghorn Classics release, Locale, the Alexander String Quartet presents brand new accounts of two of Antonín Dvořák’s most enduringly popular chamber works. The “American” String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 from 1893 was written during the composer’s extended retreat from New York City to the rural “Czech” community of Spillville, on the Turkey River in northeastern Iowa. The ASQ plumbs the rich and reflective “outdoor” nuances of this exquisitely crafted masterpiece. And the miraculous pianist Joyce Yang joins the Alexanders once again for this recording of the jubilant Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 from 1887, composed at the composer’s country home amidst Bohemia’s woods and fields in Vysoka, just a little south of Prague. These two works are among the composer’s most expressively articulate chamber works. Both are profoundly influenced by their geographic “locale” and are, perhaps, exemplars of the sophisticated duality of the transatlantic experience of the late 19th century, embracing the nostalgia of the traditional bucolic ideal and the urbane sophistication of the imminent new age. Eric Bromberger’s accompanying notes and commentary provide illuminating musical and historical context, not least some of Dvorak’s own thoughts on the American-ness of his quartet.

This is the third release on Foghorn Classics celebrating the inimitable collaboration between the Alexanders and Yang. Earlier releases include the Brahms and Schumann Quintets (FCL2014) and, most recently, the Mozart Piano Quartets (FCL2018). Their combined concert repertoire now includes, among several other standard and modern works, a bril- liant new and much-lauded quintet from the American composer Samuel Carl Adams, commissioned to help celebrate a decade of joyful collab- orative music-making.

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