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Schubert: String Quartets D.87 & D.887 / Quarteto Casals

Album Summary

>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, D 87/Op 125 no 1
>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 15 in G major, D 887/Op 161
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Sunday Times (UK)
Their account of the great G major is something out of the ordinary - I don't recall a performance of this work in which Schubert's existential angst is so relentlessly projected. The tragedy and drama of this music have rarely been so harrowingly delivered on disc.

For their first recording of music by Franz Schubert, the members of the Cuarteto Casals perform works from two very different periods in the composer's life. Wrongly dated upon its publication in 1830, the String Quartet No.10 in E flat Major is in fact the work of a 16-year-old musician who had just entered teachers college. It is coupled here with Schubert's very last effort in the genre, the String Quartet No. 15 in G Major. Symphonic in organization and structure, in its scope and difficulty, it is typical of his later works. Although only thirteen years separate the two pieces, the differences in form and complexity offer the listener a fascinating example of Schubert's rapid growth and stylistic changes.

The Observer, July 2012
The excellent Spanish ensemble Cuarteto Casals...bring supple radiance and flair to these two works which span Schubert's brief career...Does music come any better?

The Times, July 2012
You'll find plenty of Latin spirit in the Cuarteto Casals's CD of two contrasting Schubert string quartets...Not all of the Casals's current members are Spanish...But that never lessens the ensemble's Latin passion and spunky attack. Their playing is a joy.

American Record Guide, January/February 2013
I love the Casals Quartet's recording of Haydn Op. 33 Quartets (J/F 2010), so my hopes were high for their Schubert, and I was not at all disappointed. Schubert wrote his 10th Quartet in 1811, when he was 16 years old. Since every movement is in the same key, it puts a rather heavy burden on the musicians, because they have to rely heavily on texture, sound, and articulation to keep the piece interesting. Perhaps Schubert might have even written this quartet as an exercise, never intending for it to be published. It was published posthumously with an incorrect date (1817) and a high Opus number (Op. 25: 1), which sometimes confuses people. Still, the 10th Quartet, with influences from Haydn and Mozart, is Schubert to the core. This ensemble lets the influences to come through and keeps the piece interesting and entertaining.

Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2012
These musicians shape the lines to reflect both poetry and youthful spirit. The Casals rightly scale down their their steely resolve that paid dividends in D887 but prefer detachment to ardour, particularly in the slow movement.

International Record Review, September 2012
The Cuarteto Casals makes a clear distinction between the comparatively placid, sometimes lively progress of the early quartet and tough, symphonic nature of the G major work. The playing of the latter is strong, uncompromising, excellently structured and considered.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2012
Among modern performances I have heard none that surpasses this for obsessiveness. Even so, the Cuarteto Casals manage not to fall into the trap of making this an aural ordeal for the listener...but here there is unnerving exhilaration of riding in a fast vehicle that seems thrillingly unable to stop.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (06/2011).


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Works Details

>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, D 87/Op 125 no 1
  • Ensemble: Casals Quartet
  • Running Time: 24 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 11/1813

>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 15 in G major, D 887/Op 161
  • Running Time: 47 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1826