Author Topic: Schubert's String Quartets  (Read 17188 times)

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Offline NorthNYMark

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #100 on: September 14, 2013, 02:08:45 PM »
I have been listening obsessively for the past week to this disc from the big Philips box. I had already been caught up in listening to various string quartets (mainly by Beethoven and Bartok), a genre that hadn't really clicked with me until recently. However, when I heard this one, I was completely transfixed--it is unabashedly, lushly melodic, with a repeated theme in the first movement that seemingly just keeps opening up further, like some kind of majestic flower. A combination of internet research and some quick Amazon deliveries of other highly touted performances led me to the realization that this particular performance is rather unique and controversial, as most other performers adopt faster tempi and often a more nervously tense, stop-and-go sort of interpretation. The Quartetto Italiano, as I experience it, don't simply play the work as a kind of narrative, but seem to absolutely luxuriate in the sheer beauty of every single note and nuance, giving it a luminous, almost floating feeling. My preference here almost surprises me, since with composers like Bartok, I tend to prefer darker, edgier approaches. This performance of the final string quartet by Schubert, however, seems to be working in a very different way for me--rather than as exciting or even conventionally beautiful, I experience it as nothing less than rapturous.  (Seeing Snyprrr's response to another performance of this quartet in earlier posts, I wish I had been around to recommend this version, since it is so very different, IMHO, from what he was describing).

Online André

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #101 on: March 26, 2016, 01:36:06 PM »
How does this sound, both as an interpretation and as a sound recording ? Nimbus sometimes bathes the players in unwanted echo, airplane hangar-style. This set is cheap in the extreme. Thomas Brandis was concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker for 22 years. Good pedigree...



Offline GioCar

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #102 on: November 19, 2016, 10:53:13 AM »
Just want to say that this quite recent set is superb!



Just listening now to the Quartettsatz in C minor. Perhaps the most thrilling/touching Quartettsatz I have ever heard.
Diogenes Quartet...who are those guys?

Offline Jo498

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #103 on: November 19, 2016, 11:01:49 AM »
Never heard anything by them but they have a homepage with some info in English
http://diogenes-quartett.de/biography/?lang=en
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #104 on: May 13, 2020, 12:23:25 PM »
Franz's SQs TTT!  Thread has been dormant for nearly 4 years, plus I'm listening to my small collection of Schubert's later SQs from the first two sets below - I've just read through this thread and the Melos Quartett seems to have gleamed the accolades for the 'best' complete set of these string works - however, the last two posts back in late 2016 brought up another newcomer, i.e. the Diogenes Quartet - there appeared to be little interest in discussion - however, I just finished perusing Jerry Dubins half dozen reviews in Fanfare (five attached for those interested) in which he absolutely raves about this group in these performances - Brilliant now offers a 7-CD box which I decided to order.  Dave :)

       

Online JBS

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #105 on: May 13, 2020, 12:37:43 PM »
My only complete set is this


I have a few recordings of the late quartets and the quintet, including the Belcea and a subset of the Emerson set.  But generally I prefer individual recordings here, the Jerusalem Quartet among others.

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #106 on: May 13, 2020, 01:23:52 PM »
I can very highly recommend these 2 disks for last quartet/quartettsatz/quintet. I first got into this group playing what turns out to be my favorite String Quartet version of Haydn's '7 Last Words'. They are from Iceland, with the exception of the 1st violin, who is none other than Jaap Schröder, this must have been one of his last projects before his death back on January 1. I don't know (and would love to find out) if there is a disk 3 in the can, which would probably have 'Death & the Maiden' and 'Rosamunde'. If so, that would be a hard 3 disk set to beat!   :)




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Offline amw

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #107 on: May 13, 2020, 02:18:09 PM »
I have a lot of these. Short list:

Artemis Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: My favourite modern recordings (of the quartets; the quintet is also good, though). Schubert with edge, and the right amount of fantasy, without self-indulgence.
Auryn Quartet - complete: Not quite the opposite extreme from the Artemis but certainly much more genteel and Viennese and such.
Belcea Quartet - Nos. 14, 15: Good, slightly mannered, takes "molto moderato" in the first movement of No. 15 quite seriously. A bit histrionic overall.
Busch Quartet - Nos. 8, 14, 15: Interpretively close to definitive (though no repeats in the first movements). Sounds very historical. Would not recommend to a first-timer but always a pleasure to listen to.
Chiaroscuro Quartet - Nos. 9, 13, 14: Probably my favourite period instruments recordings. Passionate & highly coloured, generally.
Cuarteto Casals - Nos. 10, 15: Generally enjoyable, quasi-HIP modern instruments take; I recall having some issues with the ensemble last time I heard it, but probably nothing that would be noticeable on a casual listen.
Doric Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: On the other end of the quasi-HIP modern instruments side—slower tempi (though still faster than average, mostly) and surgical clean attacks instead of portamenti, expressive vibrato and swells. I've always enjoyed this a great deal.
Emerson Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: Can feel like a somewhat less polished precursor to the Artemis set, interpretively. Plenty of vibrato and that terrible DG engineering. I still like them nonetheless.
Fitzwilliam Quartet - Nos. 13, 14: Period instruments, relaxed tempi, a bit reminiscent of the old Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet recordings on Westminster. Definitely worth checking out.
Hagen Quartet - Nos. 10, 12, 13, 15: A bit variable in quality—one of the best and most disruptive versions of No. 15, though. "Disruptive" probably being the best overall description of their style.
Hungarian Quartet - No. 15 (1951): Can seem rushed at times and merely manic-depressive at other times. The latter is, in No. 15, a virtue.
Jasper Quartet - No. 14: I don't remember much about this one to be honest.
Juilliard Quartet - No. 14 (1960), No. 15 (1960): If you like your Schubert psychodramatic and modernist, and can tolerate Robert Mann's wayward cruelty to the system of equal temperament, these are for you.
Leipzig Quartet - complete: Like the Emersons, a bit "old fashioned" in style and with every note treated with great reverence (even in the various tiny fragments and incomplete works they unearthed). I like that sort of thing though.
Petersen Quartet - No. 14: See comments above on "Juilliard Quartet" (substitute Conrad Mück for Robert Mann)
Takács Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 (Decca): These might be my first recommendations for a newcomer, actually: fairly "average" in most stylistic respects, self-effacing, but everything is very stylishly done and the ensemble is flawless.
Taneyev Quartet - complete: For some reason, never issued on CD but available as a cheap MP3 download from the river people. Dates from the 80s, when the quartet was past its prime, but if you like old-fashioned Soviet fiddling, extreme tempos presented as normal, and a world-class sense of style you will like it.
Terpsycordes Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: Period instruments, semi-modern style. I recall this being one of the best versions of No. 13.
Tetzlaff Quartet - No. 15: Another in the list of highly mannered performances that I love. The quartet has the best intonation of almost any ensemble I've heard, if that helps.

Offline Irons

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #108 on: May 14, 2020, 12:45:28 AM »
My favourite recording of any string quartet, not only Schubert. Just perfection.

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Online MusicTurner

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #109 on: May 14, 2020, 12:55:48 AM »
I have a lot of these. Short list:

Artemis Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: My favourite modern recordings (of the quartets; the quintet is also good, though). Schubert with edge, and the right amount of fantasy, without self-indulgence.
Auryn Quartet - complete: Not quite the opposite extreme from the Artemis but certainly much more genteel and Viennese and such.
Belcea Quartet - Nos. 14, 15: Good, slightly mannered, takes "molto moderato" in the first movement of No. 15 quite seriously. A bit histrionic overall.
Busch Quartet - Nos. 8, 14, 15: Interpretively close to definitive (though no repeats in the first movements). Sounds very historical. Would not recommend to a first-timer but always a pleasure to listen to.
Chiaroscuro Quartet - Nos. 9, 13, 14: Probably my favourite period instruments recordings. Passionate & highly coloured, generally.
Cuarteto Casals - Nos. 10, 15: Generally enjoyable, quasi-HIP modern instruments take; I recall having some issues with the ensemble last time I heard it, but probably nothing that would be noticeable on a casual listen.
Doric Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: On the other end of the quasi-HIP modern instruments side—slower tempi (though still faster than average, mostly) and surgical clean attacks instead of portamenti, expressive vibrato and swells. I've always enjoyed this a great deal.
Emerson Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: Can feel like a somewhat less polished precursor to the Artemis set, interpretively. Plenty of vibrato and that terrible DG engineering. I still like them nonetheless.
Fitzwilliam Quartet - Nos. 13, 14: Period instruments, relaxed tempi, a bit reminiscent of the old Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet recordings on Westminster. Definitely worth checking out.
Hagen Quartet - Nos. 10, 12, 13, 15: A bit variable in quality—one of the best and most disruptive versions of No. 15, though. "Disruptive" probably being the best overall description of their style.
Hungarian Quartet - No. 15 (1951): Can seem rushed at times and merely manic-depressive at other times. The latter is, in No. 15, a virtue.
Jasper Quartet - No. 14: I don't remember much about this one to be honest.
Juilliard Quartet - No. 14 (1960), No. 15 (1960): If you like your Schubert psychodramatic and modernist, and can tolerate Robert Mann's wayward cruelty to the system of equal temperament, these are for you.
Leipzig Quartet - complete: Like the Emersons, a bit "old fashioned" in style and with every note treated with great reverence (even in the various tiny fragments and incomplete works they unearthed). I like that sort of thing though.
Petersen Quartet - No. 14: See comments above on "Juilliard Quartet" (substitute Conrad Mück for Robert Mann)
Takács Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 (Decca): These might be my first recommendations for a newcomer, actually: fairly "average" in most stylistic respects, self-effacing, but everything is very stylishly done and the ensemble is flawless.
Taneyev Quartet - complete: For some reason, never issued on CD but available as a cheap MP3 download from the river people. Dates from the 80s, when the quartet was past its prime, but if you like old-fashioned Soviet fiddling, extreme tempos presented as normal, and a world-class sense of style you will like it.
Terpsycordes Quartet - Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15: Period instruments, semi-modern style. I recall this being one of the best versions of No. 13.
Tetzlaff Quartet - No. 15: Another in the list of highly mannered performances that I love. The quartet has the best intonation of almost any ensemble I've heard, if that helps.

Nice & interesting little survey, thank you. I hadn't heard of a Taneyev set, for example.

Offline Que

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #110 on: May 14, 2020, 01:09:59 AM »
Nice & interesting little survey, thank you.

Agreed. Very interesting, thanks!  :)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #111 on: May 14, 2020, 02:28:33 AM »
Franz's SQs TTT!  Thread has been dormant for nearly 4 years, plus I'm listening to my small collection of Schubert's later SQs from the first two sets below - I've just read through this thread and the Melos Quartett seems to have gleamed the accolades for the 'best' complete set of these string works - however, the last two posts back in late 2016 brought up another newcomer, i.e. the Diogenes Quartet - there appeared to be little interest in discussion - however, I just finished perusing Jerry Dubins half dozen reviews in Fanfare (five attached for those interested) in which he absolutely raves about this group in these performances - Brilliant now offers a 7-CD box which I decided to order.  Dave :)

   

I have all those three and they are all very good in their own way. Diogenes takes the 1st prize for completeness, tough --- and if one is a true Schubertian, one needs them all.  ;)

Two asides:

(1) this Dubbins guy is convinced that Schubert went insane at a very young age, possibly during childhood, and misses no opportunity to mention it, finding proof for his assertion in the music itself. I think he should go see a psychologist himself.  ;D

(2) the guy on the Diogenes set cover is not Schubert. See a thorough analysis here: http://figures-of-speech.com/2019/05/portrait.htm
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline Jo498

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Re: Schubert's String Quartets
« Reply #112 on: May 14, 2020, 02:32:27 AM »
There are apparently five? "modern" complete recordings, Leipzig/MDG (hypercomplete with fragments included), Auryn/cpo, Kodaly/Naxos, Verdi/Haenssler, Diogenes/Brilliant. (There is one from the mid/late 70s with the Melos/DG and one from the 50s or early 60s with a Viennese quartet.) I have not heard anything of the last two. I have the Auryn complete and two discs with the Leipzig. Both are IMO very good. Of these the Leipzig seem to me the more "traditional", the Auryn does not quite offer the cutting edge "modernity" of Hagen (and supposedly Artemis and others, I have not heard their Schubert) but it's about in the middle. The MDG used to be quite expensive, but not anymore, so one is spoiled for choice. I also got the downloads (one of the very few downloads I bought) of the Taneyev and this is very interesting and maybe makes more of the early pieces than could be expected. One should note that most of the early pieces are really early, i.e. Schubert was about 15 when he wrote them. Some are interesting (e.g. the very first one that cannot decide between g minor and Bb major), but I hardly listen to them and don't think one needs more than one complete recording.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)