Following the release of its critically acclaimed debut album on Deutsche Grammophon (Australia) in 2018, the Brisbane-based Orava Quartet releases its second album on the famed label. Consisting of members Daniel Kowalik, David Dalseno (violins), Thomas Chawner (viola), and Karol Kowalik (cello), the second album is titled Orawa, and is a personal tribute to the group’s late mentor Uzi Wiesel.
The title of the new album is named after a work by Polish composer Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013), which appears on this album, and was introduced to brothers Daniel and Karol Kowalik by their father during their childhood, becoming such an intrinsic part of their formative years that it inspired the quartet’s name.
Also on this album is Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 6 in G major, Op. 101, which was one of the first works the Oravas performed as an ensemble back in 2006, under the careful guidance of their late teacher Wiesel. This quartet complements their performance of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110, which appeared on their first album and was reviewed as ‘hair-raising’ by The Daily Telegraph.
Two works by Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) continues the Eastern European flavour, featuring his String Quartet No 1 and Five Pieces for String Quartet – both written in the tumultuous post-War haze of Europe in the 1920s. Fast-forwarding to a century later, the album is rounded out with four works by Melbourne-based composer Luke Howard (b. 1978), whose search for serenity and solace in his works are evident throughout. Accompanying the set are beautifully-written notes by Phillip Sametz, tracing the journey of the music, from the greatly gifted Schulhoff who met his end in a Nazi concentration camp, to the reflective works of Howard, whose work "Schlusshymne" presents a luminous, concluding musical prayer for our own tumultuous times.
String Quartet No.1
Five Pieces for String Quartet
String Quartet No. 6 in G major, Op. 101
You Are Not Lost, You Are Here
Daniel Kowalik, David Dalseno, violins
Thomas Chawner, viola
Karol Kowalik, cello