Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Schubert, Alban Berg Quartet, Günther Pichler|
Schubert: Streichquartette 12 "Quartettsatz" & 15
Listen to Samples
Stunning Balanced & Lyrical Performance
Dale Chapman | San Ramon, CA USA | 01/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a couple years I have been listening to the Emerson Quartet's versions of the late Schubert string quartets. In particular, I always loved the manic intensity of their G-major performance (quartet #15). Then I purchased this ABQ disc, and I haven't listened to the Emersons ever since. This disc (recorded live in Vienna in association with the 200th birthday celebration of Schubert) is stunning. Where the Emerson Quartet sounds very much to be the product of their New York 90's environment, the ABQ are in alignment with the "old school" European tradition: stately, wise, and worldly. Their reading is considerably more measured than the Emerson Quartet, and honey has replaced the razor blades.The rhythmic tremolo of the first movement is played with enough agitation to convey Schubert's angst, yet it is not panicked. I also love the frolicking gait of the final movement.Finally, I really enjoy hearing the applause after each of the two pieces on this disc. It is not frequent that chamber music is performed in larger halls, and the applause are what you'd custimarily expect from the symphony hall. This caps off a wonderful hour of entertainment with a gleeful crescendo."
As great as quartet playing gets
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The long, problematic expanse of Schubert's last quartet, with a first movement alone that unfolds for 20 min., needs a special peformance. Here it gets a great one. Recorded live in Vienna in 1997, the Alban Berg Qt. rises to the challenge of making this elusive music, full of angst and nervous energy, ghostly sonorities and questioning ideas, seem like a masterpiece. They accomplish this feat by giving us the most beautiful tone and wonderfuly imaginative phrasing. But we're used to that from the ABQ. What sets this reading apart is pure musical insight. They simply have better ideas than anyone else and can execute them like a single brilliant musician.
I find myself hesitant to describe what's happening in detail. The tremolos in the first movement, as the reviewer below says, express every bit of Schubert's disquiet, so poignantly mixed with lyric beauty--this oculd be a tone poem about a great artist facing death. The same jitters-and-twitters from the violins continues in every movement. The fact that Schubert dashed off such a unique creation in the space of a few days in 1826 adds to its incredible intensity. The ABQ performs with equal intesity but also hushed sensitivity.
I might as well sotp there. While listening to this CD, I was convinced that I was hearing the greatest string quartet performance in my life, and now that it's over, I'm not sure I would change my opinion. EMI's recording is clear and natural, without the slightest glare or distortion."