For the Record, Op. 157: Ehnes Quartet; Francisco Fullana

May 27, 2021, 6:26 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Ehnes Quartet Francisco Fullana
Left, the Ehnes Quartet; right, violinist Francisco Fullana.

Beethoven String Quartet Op.130, Große Fuge Op.133
Ehnes Quartet

Like many musical projects planned for 2020, the plans of the Ehnes Quartet to record Beethoven’s late quartets underwent a drastic revision. Rather than cancel the project, some ingenious technology was employed. "Our quartet was greatly looking forward to a week of recording in the United Kingdom in August 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for us to travel to the UK, and for our UK-based producer, Simon Kiln, to travel to us," James Ehnes said. "We were, however, able to take advantage of the wonders of modern technology by recording in the U.S. with Simon monitoring the sessions in real time in London. A fortunate benefit of not traveling overseas for these recordings was that the days we had scheduled for travel become additional recording days, allowing us to record all of Beethoven’s string quartets from Op. 74 onwards. The four CD’s we recorded during this intense two-week period will always be treasured reminders for us of a brief, bucolic window of artistic fulfilment during a terribly challenging period for the world." BELOW: From the recording sessions:

Bach’s Long Shadow
Francisco Fullana, violin

Recorded in England on the 1735 "Mary Portman" ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, Bach’s Long Shadow features Bach’s Partita No.3 in E major for Solo Violin, BWV 1006, and two works by Eugène Ysaÿe, including Ysaÿe's second sonata in which the composer metamorphosizes Bach's original E major Partita into an obsessive display of virtuosity. The Recitativo & Scherzo, Op.6 by Fritz Kreisler is performed on Kreisler's original violin. Two Spanish works from the 1890’s, Isaac Albéniz’s, Asturias (Leyenda), arranged by Patrick Loiseleur & Francisco Fullana, and Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, arranged by Ruggiero Ricci, link back to Fullana’s native country and his own family origins. Fullana, who enjoys success on both the modern and baroque stages, pays tribute to both styles in the album as he performs compositions spanning 300 years. BELOW: Trailer to the album with commentary by Fullana and musical excerpts.

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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May 30, 2021 at 06:10 PM · did the violist from Ehnes quartet know that the recording session video was going to be posted ;-)

May 31, 2021 at 03:08 AM · It was a pandemic recording session, Jean. As such it would be silly to wear formal-wear! I like the spontaneity!

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