Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete String Quartets Vol. 7
Quartettsatz in C minor D103 (1814) [8:11]
String Quartet No. 5 in B flat D68 (1813) [16:22]
String Trio in B flat D471 (1816) [7:59]
Five Minuets and Six Trios D89 (1813) [14:08]
Overture in C minor for String Quintet* D8 (1811) Ed. Hess
* with Gyözö Máthé (2nd viola)
rec. Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary, 18-22 July 2005 DDD NAXOS 8.557126 [55:48]
this release, the Kodály Quartet completes its Schubert series
for Naxos. This fine group was established over forty years
ago and has previously recorded the complete Haydn quartets
for the same label. The players bring similar attributes
to Schubert – cultured but not over-refined playing which
serves the music well.
Schubert’s quartets are numbered 1-15, all of which have four movements apart
from No. 5 and No. 12. The latter is the well-known Quartettsatz dating from
1820 which happens to be in the same key – C minor – as the earlier unnumbered
single movement quartet which opens this disc. What is more, the Deutsch
numbers are similar (103 and 703). Having forgotten the existence of the
earlier work – which is included in Melos Quartet’s set on DG – I was fooled
into anticipating something rather different on first hearing. I was also
thinking that it would be a good idea to juxtapose early and late works on
the individual discs of such a series but everything here was written before
Schubert had turned twenty. Although there are no masterworks on the programme,
there is enough of interest to sustain the attention.
from the reasonably well-known and melodious String Trio – another
single movement work which Schubert apparently abandoned,
the Quartettsatz is the most impressive piece on the disc.
It consists of a dark and brooding slow introduction followed
by a Haydnesque Allegro. As with quite a few of Schubert’s
works, the score ended at the beginning of the recapitulation
and had to be realised for performance – a task undertaken
by Alfred Orel in the 1930s. The fifth quartet which follows
appears to be the two outer movements of an intended four
movement work. Despite the finale being light and tuneful,
I missed the middle movements, and would regard this piece
as being primarily of academic interest.
rest of the music on the disc was new to me and is certainly
worth hearing. The Five Minuets and Six Trios are so because
the first work has two quite contrasted central sections
between which the minuet is repeated, perhaps dispelling
the thought that a dance might have been lost. The disc concludes
with the Overture for String Quintet, a very early work which
was only published in 1970. To suggest even the slightest
anticipation of the late great String Quintet (D.956) – which
of course doubles up on the cello – would be pushing it.
Nevertheless, even at the age of fourteen, Schubert seemed
capable of making the extra instrument count.
The Kodálys are rather better recorded here than they were in Haydn – a
most natural result in a warm acoustic. The issue is well-documented
is no reason for anyone who has collected previous issues in the series to
hesitate over completing it by acquiring this one. Naxos should now issue
the complete set in a space-saving box, a habit they seem to have gotten
out of recently.
Patrick C Waller Links to reviews of previous
volumes in the series: Volume
4 (8.555921) - Quartets 1, 4 & 8 Volume
5 (8.557107) - Quartets 2, 6 & 11 Volume
(8.557125) - Quartets 15, 5 German Dances
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