Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927)
Complete String Quartets, Volume 2: C, Op. 71; A, Op. 106.

Minguet String Quartet
Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG603 1002-2 [63.54] [DDD]
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This release came as a happy and unexpected surprise. Fuchs achieved success early in his life with his orchestral serenades. He taught harmony at the Vienna Conservatory (teaching as a professor in 1886). Upon retirement, he was succeeded by Franz Schreker. Towards the end of his life he was (musically) overtaken by new musical developments and faded into the background of obscurity.

The String Quartet No. 3, Op. 71 was published in Vienna in 1903. It breathes the fresh, open air of C major and is notable for the inner intensity of its slow movement and the pure charm of its second movement. Only the opening Allegro molto moderato e grazioso perhaps suffers from a tendency to meander and as such appears over-long.

The Op. 106 quartet (in the 'happy' key of A major) brings a more complete experience. It feels integrated and once again the slow movement (here Andante sostenuto) is emotive and touching, with a particularly tender close.

The Miguet String Quartet is an extremely well-balanced ensemble, blessed with a very warm sound entirely suited to this repertoire and faithfully reproduced by Dabringhaus und Grimm's excellent recording. The quartet's fierce commitment brings with it the bonus of youth and the excitement of fresh discovery.

Volume 1 is available on MDG603 1001-2.

Colin Clarke

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