SCHUBERT Late String Quartets Nos. 13–15. Quartettsatz. Guarneri Quartet. Newton Classics 2cds

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Schubert Late String Quartets Nos Guarneri Quartet Newton Classics 2Cds

SCHUBERT

Late String Quartets, Nos 13–15

Quartettsatz

Guarneri Quartet

Schubert’s late chamber music traverses some of the darkest territory in the introspective world of chamber music. As is typical of the composer, several works draw their music and hidden narrative from songs, most notably ‘Death and the Maiden’, with its spooky tale of love and loneliness. Everywhere a breadth of expression is evident, in long-breathed melodies, spacious developments and (in final movements) limitless reiteration of small motivic units towards conclusions of emphatic strength and resolution. These are works that take the time they need to say what they want to say, and they are marked by continual emotional turbulence, even obsession.

The Guarneri Quartet were remarkable both for their longevity and their consistency of achievement until their retirement in 2007. They were a smoothly integrated ensemble almost from the start of their association in 1961, as a record executive recognised when he went to one of their early concerts and quickly signed them up. They went on to record all the standard repertoire of the genre and much more besides, and with a sweetness worthy of the instruments of their eponymous violin-maker’s name.

‘Lovely playing, as nearly always from these artists... The Quartettsatz was written four years before the A minor Quartet. There’s certainly no lack of shivers and shudders here: indeed, you get the impression that the players were deliberately saving up all their disquiet for the key of C minor. The recording quality is very natural throughout.’ Gramophone, February 1973

Newton Classics 2cds 8802089

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