Heritage, The Music of Madrid in the Time of Goya

Cuarteto Quiroga

(8 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 256
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Most music lovers around the world identify the birth of string quartet with the name of the great Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, so called by musical tradition “the father of string quartet”. The collective cultural imaginary places string quartet, thus, as a central European phenomenon, with Vienna, Mannheim, and maybe northern Italy and the Bohemian lands, as epicentres of a musical earthquake which would shake the European music scene forever. Furthermore, when the expansion of quartet as totemic genre is studied, the names of London, Paris, Amsterdam, the court of Prussia and even the nordic Stockholm appear consistently in the picture, but one European capital is usually left behind as culturally peripheral: Madrid.

This album tries to illustrate musically how, rather the opposite, Madrid, in the last third of the eighteenth century, became one of the most active capitals of the European string quartet scene. Around the Royal Court, the arts flourished, and while the now world renowned Francisco de Goya was chamber painter for the Royal Household – producing masterworks that have attained all the historic attention they deserve– a bunch of extremely talented, skilful and brilliant composers, such as Boccherini, Brunetti, Canales, Almeida and many others, actively and extensively composed a large catalogue of chamber music –specially string quartets– that unfortunately today, with no musical justification, has remained in oblivion or has been regarded with disdain.

This new album by the internationally acclaimed, Madrid-based Cuarteto Quiroga, performing with gut strings and historically informed criteria, presents an eloquent anthology of the string quartet production in Goya’s Madrid –including two world premiere recordings– claiming its great musical value and its capital importance to fully comprehend the birth and expansion of one of the most important genres of our European cultural heritage.


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
String Quartet in E flat major, Op.24 No.3, G.191 - Allegro Moderato
String Quartet in E flat major, Op.24 No.3, G.191- Adagio non tanto
String Quartet in E flat major, Op.24 No.3, G.191 -Minuetto
String Quartet in B flat major, L.185 - Allegro moderato
String Quartet in B flat major, L.185 - Largo amoroso
String Quartet in B flat major, L.185- Prestissimo
String Quartet in G major, Op.3 No.5 - Allegro Maestoso
String Quartet in G major, Op.3 No.5 - Minuet
String Quartet in G major, Op.3 No.5 - Largo sostenuto
String Quartet in G major, Op.3 No.5 - Presto
String Quartet in D minor, Op.6, No.2 - Allegro
String Quartet in D minor, Op.6, No.2 - Largo - Allegretto
String Quartet in D minor, Op.6, No.2 - Minuetto (Allegro)
String Quartet in D minor, Op.6, No.2 - Finale
Kyrie [Missa Pro Defunctis]

Total time: 01:19:16

Additional information





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Acoustic Revive

Digital Converters

Merging Technologies

Editing Software


Mastering Engineer

Tom Peeters, Tom Caulfield


Bruel & Kjaer 4003


Original Recording Format


Tom Peeters

Recording Engineer

Mediatrack, Tom Peeters

Recording location

Academiezaal, Sint-Truiden, Belgium


KEF 105

Release DateApril 12, 2019

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

This is a beautifully performed album, once again applying some excellent programming sensibilities. I’m one of those odd ducks who prefer to play complete albums as the artists originally assembled the tracks. Consider me a throwback to the time when the artists sensibilities about what they were communicating actually mattered.

In this album, Cuarteto Quiroga gives us some exposure to what the Spanish court of the 18th century would have had access to and may actually have been listening to…

As with all of their albums, the group sounds supremely well prepared, immensely engaged and engaging, and thoroughly conversant with the music they present for us. Their playing is, as always, immaculate.

The beauty of performance is enhanced by the superb recording made by Tom Peeters, producer and recording engineer for Cobra Records. As with so many of Tom’s excellent recordings, we have a very happy combination of superb acoustic venue (the Westvest90 Church, Schiedam, The Netherlands) and masterful recording skills that both support and enhance the performance. Just gorgeous recordings.

The Strad, august 2019

“Supremely skilled performers carefully nuancing each phrase, their gut strings adding golden warmth to the timbre (…) Much lauded for their gloriously impeccable string playing, the Quiroga players deliver elegant performances (…)”

Scherzo, june 2019 10 out of 5

“This CD album was necessary (…) these are dazzling readings, performed in the strictest historicism, that come (…) to demonstrate the protean condition of this ensemble, capable of moving with identical (and insulting) ease and proficiency between contemporary repertoire and classicism, or in any other style.”
For the fifth time since we started our record career, Scherzo, one of the most prominent music magazines in Europe, awards with its prestigious label “Exceptional” our latest CD “Heritage: The Music in Madrid in the Time of Goya” (Cobra Records).

El Pais, may 2019

The Quiroga Quartet rescues unedited and unpublished piece by Boccherini, chamber musician of the family of Carlos IV. Exclusively for EL PAÍS this article and video.

De Gelderlander, may 2019 4 out of 5

Het Cuarteto Quiroga speelt op darmsnaren en weet de muzikale sfeer goed te treffen. Bij Boccherini is die elegant, maar het viertal vervalt hier gelukkig niet in popperigheid. De aanzet is eerder ferm zonder al te stoer te worden…In het Adagio con tanto valt bovendien de verfijnde timing en het uiterst accurate samenspel op. De een jaar later dan Boccherini geboren Brunetti ()schreef meer dan vijftig strijkkwartetten. Het hier uitgevoerde kwartet werd rond 1785 gecomponeerd en opgedragen aan koning Karel IV. Met zijn beheerste luchtigheid en zijn eigenwijze modulaties smaakt het beslist naar meer. De finale bruist ondertussen van de energie…De Portugees João Pedro de Almeida Mota tekent tenslotte voor het langste stuk van dit album: het Strijkkwartet in d, opus 6, nr. 2. Het staat met één voet nog in de ‘Sturm und Drang’ periode en krijgt van de spelers een meeslepende interpretatie === The Cuarteto Quiroga plays on gut strings and knows how to hit the musical atmosphere well. With Boccherini it is elegant, but fortunately the foursome does not fall into drowsiness. The approach is rather firm without becoming too tough … In Adagio con tanto, you also notice the refined timing and the extremely accurate interaction. Brunetti (), born a year later than Boccherini, wrote more than fifty string quartets. The quartet performed here was composed around 1785 and dedicated to King Charles IV. With its controlled airiness and its stubborn modulations, it definitely tastes like more. The final is buzzing with energy … Finally the Portuguese João Pedro de Almeida Mota is responsible for the longest piece of this album: the String Quartet in d, opus 6, no. 2. It stands with one leg still in the ‘Sturm und Drang’ period and gets a compelling interpretation from the players. – Maarten-Jan Dongelmans

NRC, may 2019

“Onze geschiedenis kent donkere perioden: burgeroorlog, Franco-dictatuur, inquisitie. Er bestond lang een weerzin om terug te kijken. Wij wilden de andere kant van de geschiedenis tonen: in die duisternis scheen de lamp van de Verlichting. Dat bewijzen deze strijkkwartetten van Boccherini, Brunetti, Canales en Almeida.”…De technische scholing van het Cuarteto Quiroga is Midden-Europees, maar in temperament verklankt het kwartet onvervreemdbaar de Spaanse aard, vindt tweede violist Sierra.„De levenslust die je voelt stromen in de straten van Madrid, de wil de dag tot op de laatste druppel uit te persen – die sfeer vloeit door onze aderen.” Het kwartet bewees het afgelopen week tijdens een energiek en afwisselend recital in de Rotterdamse Doelen. „We geloven erin dat magie naar boven komt in het aangezicht van rampspoed”, zegt altviolist Puchades. „We studeren hard, we kennen de noten van binnen en buiten, zodat we de grenzen en het gevaar kunnen opzoeken. Langs de rand van de afgrond liggen de mooiste vergezichten.”

Pizzicato, may 2019 5 out of 5

Cuarteto Quiroga presents widely unknown quartets from Madrid, composed in the last third of the 18th century, two of them, the quartets by Boccherini and Brunetti being world premiere recordings! Cuarteto Quiroga plays on gut strings according to all the rules of historical performance practice. And if this results in a quite characteristic, somewhat sharp sound, the four musicians adopt here a pleasantly classical style, with a very homogeneous sound, an almost ideal balance of wide overview and loving refinement of the details, of spontaneity and discipline, so that one can fully enjoy the music, especially since it is of great vitality through appropriate accentuations and rich dynamics.


El Cuarteto Quiroga presentó anoche, en el Museo del Prado, su última grabación. El CD, titulado Heritage —con el subtítulo de La música de Madrid en tiempos de Goya—, contiene cuatro cuartetos. Dos de ellos, de Luigi Boccherini y de Gaetano Brunetti, inéditos; los otros dos, obra de Manuel Canales y Joao Pedro de Almeida. Brunetti, Canales y De Almeida trabajaron en la corte de Carlos IV (por eso, la presentación tuvo lugar en la sala 32 del Museo del Prado, la que cuenta con los retratos goyescos dedicados a la familia de este monarca), en tanto que Boccherini estuvo largo años al servicio del infante Luis Antonio, hermano de Carlos III.

Como explicó en su introducción el musicólogo Miguel Ángel Marín, Goya visitó en dos temporadas consecutivas el Palacio de la Mosquera, en la localidad abulense de Arenas de San Pedro, donde residían el infante Luis Antonio, su familia y su servidumbre (en esta, Boccherini). Aunque no hay constancia de que Goya tuviera interés especial por la música (por ese entonces, ya había perdido el sentido del oído), cabe deducir que en los meses que pasó allí estableció algún tipo de relación con el compositor luqués.

Los miembros del Cuarteto Quiroga interpretaron en esta peculiar velada una especie de cuarteto ex novo, formado por un movimiento de cada uno de las cuatro obras incluidas en el CD. A modo de conclusión, sonó también la impresionante adaptación que han hecho del Kyrie de la Missa Pro Defunctis del músico renacentista sevillano Cristóbal de Morales.

Editado por el sello holandés Cobra Records, Heritage está ya a la venta desde hace unos días tanto en Internet como en tiendas físicas.


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