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Cat. No. CHAN 10737 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10737 - Schubert: String Quartets 'Rosamunde' & 'Death and the Maiden'
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Available From: 01 September 2012

Chandos CHAN 10737

Schubert: String Quartets in D minor (Death and the Maiden) and A minor (Rosamunde)

On its new release, the Doric String Quartet turns to the music of Franz Schubert. It is the Quartet’s fifth release for Chandos, and the discography has gone from strength to strength. MusicWeb International said of the recent Korngold release (CHAN 10707): ‘The Doric Quartet seem to have a Midas touch, and any repertoire they commit to disc comes out sparkling.’ Their Schumann release (CHAN 10692) was ‘Recording of the Month’ in both Gramophone and BBC Music.

In March 1824, despite describing himself as ‘the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world’, Schubert completed not only the great Octet, but also the two String Quartets recorded here.

The String Quartet in D minor is considered the greatest of Schubert’s late quartets, mainly on account of its raw emotional honesty, which reaches an almost unendurable pitch in the second movement, a set of variations based on Schubert’s song Der Tod und das Mädchen. All four movements are driven by extensively repeated rhythmic figures, reminiscent of the musical style of Schubert’s great idol, Beethoven.

Full of Schubertian ambivalence, the String Quartet in A minor is a deeply intimate work. The opening, expressing brooding sadness, is played by the first violin over a restless accompaniment, subsequently interrupted by flurries of almost manic energy. In the second movement, Schubert ‘borrowed’ the main melody from the third Entr’acte of his incidental music to the play Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern (1823) by Wilhelmine von Chézy.

Reviews

“...These musicians make this well-worn music sound fresh and current, and they bring out details in both pieces that I noticed for the first time in this recording. The beauty of it all is that there is nothing extra musical that these musicians need to do to allow this to happen: it’s all Schubert.”

Elaine Fine – American Record Guide –January/February 2013

            *** Good Disc      *** Good Sound
Antoine Mignon – Classica magazine – November 2012

“The Doric String Quartet describes the wistfulness, ambiguities and agitations of Schubert’s Rosamunde quartet D804 with affecting sensibility, finding a range of timbre and expression that has helped identify the Doric as one of the most perceptive of today’s young ensembles...”
Geoffrey Norris – The Telegraph – 20 October 2012


               Performance  ****       Sound ****

Michael Tanner - BBC Music magazine - December 2012

"...These are exceptional accounts; superior to most available in the catalogue. With playing of genuine gravitas Schubert lovers need not hesitate."
 
Michael Cookson - MusicWeb-International.com - 10 October 2012

“...these are a pair of stunningly executed performances. Chandos’s excellent recording catches them in transparent sound that renders each part clearly and Bayan Northcott’s booklet notes are an excellent introduction to these works.”

Andrew Morris – International Record Review – October 2012


“There have been several recent recordings of these wonderful quartets ... This is one of the most imaginative and exciting...”
David Cairns – The Sunday Times – 23 September 2012

“...The Dorics have enormous flair for this kind of music, getting comfortably under the skin of music written by Schubert when he was about the same as their average age and displaying a similar degree of maturity and insight: here more than anything, they bring out the honesty and relief of a composer driven to express his real feelings when much of his output was acutely at odds with his ill health and depression...”
Caroline Gill – Gramophone magazine – October 2012 


 

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