One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Buy through MusicWeb from 14.30/15.10/15.60 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942)
String Quartet Op.25 (1918) [19:16]
String Quartet No.2 (1925) [30:09]
Schulhoff Quartet
rec. Domovina Studio, Prague, May 2005 (No.2) and March 2006 (Op.25)
VMS 180 [49:51]

This is the second volume in VMS’s survey of Schulhoff’s music for string quartet; the earlier was on VMS 138 (see review). I was impressed by the performances given by the eponymous quartet and can find no reason here to modify that view. The Schulhoff Quartet has been taking this survey slowly and unlike many a quartet hasn’t gone hell for leather for complete surveys. Their earlier recordings were made in 2003 and in 2004. Here they reprise this clear aim. The Second Quartet was taped in Prague in May 2005; the earlier Op.25 Quartet followed nearly a year later. Fortunately all their recordings have been made in the Domovina Studios.

The Second Quartet was written fast in 1925. It bears the kind of folkloric influences one would expect at this time – Bartók principally and also Janáček. Compression is the name of the game in the fast movements, contrasting strongly with the more extended slow ones. The folkloric intensity is energised by the cello’s bass lines, the rhythm is springy and also at moments we find the harmonies flecked with late impressionism – though not enough to unsettle the consonance of the musical argument. The second movement has a Theme and variations dramatically animated by beer-hall pizzicato thwacking – all the while Schulhoff’s more syncopated instincts are peeping through. He reprises this device in the scherzo – he calls it an Allegro gajo – which is a pizzicato-laced Bohemian dance inseminated by Bartók’s fertile seed. The earthy finale has enough gritty unison figures and soliloquies to hold interest.

The earlier Op.25 quartet is really a student work. The last person it sounds like is Schulhoff; updated Mozart, maybe. It’s on a far bigger scale than the more compact, mature quartet, and only really sheds light on the composer’s developmental leanings at the relatively late age of twenty-four. There is something Wagnerian about the slow movement it’s true (if somewhat generic) but the Menuett is a decidedly rococo homage spiced with slightly mordant harmonies. The rondo finale is similarly inclined as to stylistic matters though it at least reveals some enthusiasm for the folkloric hues that so enriched Schulhoff’s writing later on in the 1920s. Otherwise it’s a work of surprising blandness and lack of invention.

These quartets have rather less meat on their bones than the works in the first volume but admirers of the composer’s chamber music will find these once more committed and thoroughly idiomatic performances very much to their liking. With first class Domovina sound adherents should not hesitate.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.