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Andrés Isasi was one of the more obscure composers active in the early twentieth century. Born in Bilbao on 18 October, 1890, he moved to Berlin in 1909 where he attended classes with Karl Kämpf and Engelbert Humperdinck (the latter a composer then held in the highest esteem). This month sees the release of the third and final volume in our series of his string quartets, which fuse the complexity and depth of German musical culture with the lyricism and sensuality of Southern Europe. They are all performed by the Isasi Quartet.

For the complete Spanish Classics Series catalogue, click here.


ISASI, A.: String Quartets, Vol. 3 - Nos. 1 and 5
Isasi Quartet

This is the third and final volume of the string quartets of the important but long-neglected Basque composer Andrés Isasi. Although he was initially influenced by Grieg and Dvořák, Isasi studied under Humperdinck in Berlin, where he acquired a love of Germanic culture, reflected in both the Quartets heard on this recording. Much of the thematic material of the Violin Sonata has tangible links to Basque melodies and songs though there is also an element of Richard Strauss. The remaining quartets can be heard on Naxos 8.572463 and 8.572464, while Isasi’s Symphony No. 2 and Suite No. 2 are available on 8.557584.

Listen to an extract from the
String Quartet No. 1 in G major: I. Allegro moderatissimo

About the Artists

The Isasi Quartet blends the complexity and depth of German musical culture with the lyricism and sensuality of Southern Europe – a pairing also found in the string quartets of Andrés Isasi. Their repertoire comprises works by German and Austrian composers of the Romantic and post-Romantic eras, French and Russian composers of the nineteenth century, plus contemporary music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Isasi Quartet makes regular appearances in festivals and recital series in Germany, Austria, France and Spain, and they work closely with living composers.

Left: Anna Bohigas;
Right: Marta Zabaleta
Of Catalan origin, Anna Bohigas studied violin at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSM). Upon graduation, she continued her violin studies with Maya Glezarova and Boris Garlitsky. She has been a member of the Lyon National Opera Orchestra and concertmaster of the contemporary music ensemble FORUM (Lyon). Anna Bohigas is currently Professor of Violin at the Bordeaux National Music Conservatory and regularly teaches master-classes in France, Spain and the United States.

The Spanish pianist Marta Zabaleta studied with Dominique Merlet, Dimitri Bashkirov and Alicia de Larrocha. She is a laureate of international piano competitions such as Santander, Jaén, Zaragoza and Darmstadt, and has performed under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Daniele Gatti and Harry Christophers, among others, and with orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and the Basque Symphony Orchestra. She is a recipient of the Isaac Albéniz medal.

Previous discs in the series

String Quartets, Vol. 1
Nos. 0 and 2

“Elegance, wistfulness, folk influences, memorable melodies, minor keys and a lack of pretentiousness. This is an impressive debut for Naxos by the [Isasi] Quartet: sympathetic and thoughtful, technically adept and cogent. Roll on, volume two.”
MusicWeb International

Listen to an extract from
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor:
I. Allegro agitato

String Quartets, Vol. 2
Nos. 3 and 4

“The playing is spectacular.”
American Record Guide

“...the Isasi Quartet makes a strong case for their namesake’s music, giving us technically polished, moving accounts of these scores.”
Classical Lost and Found

Listen to an extract from
String Quartet No. 3 in E minor:
II. Scherzo

More chamber music from the Spanish Classics Series

String Quartets (complete)

“The Bretón Quartet...are on perfect form here and very much at home. The recording is balanced beautifully and is also forthright yet with space around the individual musicians. This is definitely worth exploring…”
MusicWeb International

ARRIAGA (1806-1826):
String Quartets (complete)

“...the impeccably performed and budget-priced Naxos version is urgently recommended as an introduction to a chamber composer fully as gifted as Schubert and Beethoven.”

Violin and piano music

“The music here has all of the passion, elegance, and melodic craftsmanship that characterizes Turina’s best work...the performances are excellent. A wonderful release.”

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