Notes & Reviews:
Death preyed heavily on the minds of both Schubert and Sibelius when they composed the works featured on this new recording from the Ehnes Quartet. Between 1907 and 1909 Sibelius's health was seriously deteriorating. Along with the bleak and highly personal fourth symphony, the String Quartet Op.56 "Intimate Voices" is one of the composer's masterworks from this difficult period. Schubert wrote to a friend in 1824, "I am the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world... whose health will never be right again." Schubert's emotions veered from happy memories of earlier years to terror at the prospect of death. The String Quartet No.14 makes ingenious use of his song "Death and the Maiden" and captures the mood of Schubert's fearful state of mind to perfection.