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Schumann: String Quartet no 1 & 3 / Zehetmair Quartet

Album Summary

>Schumann, Robert : Quartet for Strings no 1 in A minor, Op. 41/1
>Schumann, Robert : Quartet for Strings no 3 in A major, Op. 41/3
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"This is a disc that needs to be greeted with loud trumpetings because it houses playing of a passion and intensity that is very rarely encountered on disc. The Zehetmair Quartet... comes together for periods of intensive study, rehearsal, concert-giving and recording. They are also one of very few quartets who don't use scores when they perform... They are 'agile, excitable, and in the slower music probing to an almost painful degree." - Gramophone's 2003 Record of the Year

The Times
The vividness of the music owes much to these electrifying performances. Amazingly impressive

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The Zehetmair Quartet's coupling focuses the music's alternating wildness and fragility with altogether unique perception. Theirs is an agitated, combustible and loving view of Schumann, a credible trip into his troubled world that reflects older playing styles not by exaggerating or abandoning vibrato but by constantly varying tone, tempo, bow pressure and modes of attack. Aspects of this trend are usefully exemplified by their handling of the pensive second section of the Third Quartet's third movement, and by the way they negotiate the sudden, bloodless moderato passage that forms the coda of the First Quartet's finale. In the less consistent but more challenging First Quartet, minute variations in pulse and emphasis are consistently engaging, ie they enjoy maximum freedom within the law of the page. Contrapuntal passages that other quartets present as dry or self-conscious - at 2'36" into the first movement of No 1, for example, where the viola takes the initial lead - assume newfound meaning.

These aren't comfortable performances. They pass on cosmetic appeal and would rather grate and rail than pander to surface 'gloss'. So be warned. But they're profoundly beautiful in their truthful appropriation of music that can be both poignant and aggressive. Delicate, too, in places (Mendelssohn with added fibre); in fact more comprehensive as musical statements than most of us had previously suspected. That realisation is due almost entirely to the persuasive powers of these supremely accomplished, and realistically recorded, performances.



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Works Details

>Schumann, Robert : Quartet for Strings no 1 in A minor, Op. 41/1
  • Running Time: 22 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1842

>Schumann, Robert : Quartet for Strings no 3 in A major, Op. 41/3
  • Running Time: 25 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1842