In this new recording the prestigious Tetzlaff Quartett presents a program of String Quartets by Franz Schubert and Joseph Haydn in exemplary performances. Praised by The New York Times for their “dramatic, energetic playing of clean intensity”, the Tetzlaff Quartett is one of today’s leading string quartets. Alongside their successful individual careers, Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Hanna Weinmeister and Elisabeth Kufferath have met since 1994 to perform several times each season in concerts that regularly receive great critical acclaim.
The highly anticipated new recording from the Gramophone Recording of the Year winners in 2011. Two years on from their award winning Dvorak album, the Pavel Haas Quartet turn their attention to Schubert’s two late masterpiece. The String Quartet in D minor has a sort of dark cipher encoded within. The title “Death and the Maiden” reflects the quotation from Schubert’s eponymous song in the second movement. The theme of death is also underlined by other quotations and the choice of the key of D minor, which according to the period definition is characterised by “heavy-hearted womanliness, spleen and foreboding”.
This is the first ever release of the Juilliard String Quartet’s complete EPIC recordings from 1956 to 1966 in a single 11-CD edition. The set includes four LP recordings appearing for the first time on CD and eight CDs remastered from the original analogue tapes. The Quartet’s legacy is evident in their accumulated reviews for their outstanding recordings. On Mozart’s six “Haydn” Quartets, a Gramophone reviewer stated that they were “the best performances [they] have ever heard”. Although the Quartet have excelled in their interpretations of 18th- and 19th-century repertoire, their original purpose was to promote 20th-century music. Thus, it is unsurprising that the first album in this box set features a special recording of lesser-known works by American composers Benjamin Lees and William Denny.
While these recordings by the Hungarian Quartet contain perfectly acceptable performances and adequately idiomatic interpretations of Schubert's later chamber music for string quartet and quintet, they contain nothing more than that. In the late '50s and early '60s, the Hungarian Quartet was a widely respected group playing in the central European tradition of plumy intonation, sugary sonorities, sometimes scrappy ensemble, and often sentimental interpretations.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Emerson Quartet has made its first all-Haydn recording, featuring seven of his most famous quartets on two CDs. Presented chronologically, the program is arranged for utmost contrast of tonality, atmosphere, and character. The prevailing mood is joyous, as befits the occasion, though three quartets are in minor keys. The opening work, Op. 20, No. 5, is dark, brooding, and achingly beautiful. –Edith Eisler
The Quartet No. 3 “Songs are Sung,” Op. 67 by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki belongs to the late works of the composer, and for a long time it was considered to be his last opused work. It was created in the ‘90s on commission of the Kronos ensemble. The reference to a song in the title is not accidental – the cantabile category, in combination with sometimes dramatic, sometimes doleful and melancholic narration addi-tionally contributes to the Quartet becoming a sui generis chamber echo of the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs No. 3. The perception of the piece is dominated with Górecki’s style, recognisable by almost every music lover, deeply emotional, introvert, frugal and at the same time extremely moving. The Dafô Quartet, the first female string quartet in Poland, have been fascinated with contemporary music performance from the beginning of their activity; they belong to the most outstanding performers of Polish chamber music.