MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor Rosamunde, D804 (1824) [33:27]
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor Death and the Maiden, D810 (1824) [40:15]
Doric String Quartet
rec. 10-12 April 2012, Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England
CHANDOS CHAN 10737 [73:55]

Experience Classicsonline

These two quartets are among the best loved scores in the chamber repertoire. Many string quartets almost consider it a rite of passage to record them. Consequently there’s no shortage of recordings. In this highly competitive market I was fascinated to discover whether or not the Doric has anything special to say in these wonderful works.
One of the greatest chamber scores ever written Schubert composed his brooding String Quartet No. 13 in February 1824. This proved to be a distressing time for the composer who had grave health problems. The quartet reuses themes from the composer’s incidental music D797 to Helmina von Chézy’s unsuccessful 1823 play, Rosamunde. In the extended opening Allegro we hear melancholic yearning alongside a brooding undercurrent. The Doric’s playing has a vigorous, expressive energy. A cultivated piece of writing the lyrical Andante contains a tender lilting melody. Beneath all this lyricism there’s a sense of uncomfortable foreboding. The Menuetto is akin to slow ländler with the players establishing a mood of brooding wistfulness tinged with melancholy. It’s a touch dark and unsettling. The refined Hungarian folk inflected Finale is joyfully optimistic yet leavened with earnest episodes. With beautiful control the perceptive Doric conveys a sense of music barely holding back an imminent surge forward.
I have two primary recommendations for the Rosamunde. First the Artemis Quartet provide gripping and responsive playing. They were recorded in 2009 at Siemensvilla, Berlin and are on Virgin Classics 50999 602512 2 0. Secondly, played on period instruments, I have to include the 1996 release from the eminent Quatuor Mosaïques on Auvidis Astrée E8580. This is a compelling release noted for its exceptional playing. The personality of each member comes across engagingly. In addition I often play the highly satisfying 1976 Swiss account of the Rosamunde from the Italian Quartet. This was released on Philips 446 163-2. There is also much to admire in the splendidly judged 2002 Potton Hall, Suffolk account from the Belcea Quartet on EMI Classics 5 18182 2. The expressive Lindsays play with hearts on sleeves throughout their 1988 recording made at Castleton Parish Church, Sheffield. Originally released on ASV CDDCA560 and then ASV CDDCS243 the performance was re-issued on Sanctuary Classics Resonance RSB 403. Another recording that keeps growing on me is the beautifully played Mandelring account with its absorbing expression and real sensitivity. Recorded in 2004 at Klingenmünster, Germany, that recording is on Audite (SACD) 92.524.
The powerful Death and the Maiden is one of the most famous quartets in the chamber repertory and is full of melodic invention. Composed in March 1824 it follows straight on after the Rosamunde. Schubert had the shadow of a fatal illness hanging over him so it is not surprising that the theme of death is at the heart of the score. At times Schubert’s writing is sombre but never morbid. Taking 15 minutes to perform here the opening Allegro radiates an exuberant vigour and the music just surges along. As is often the case with Schubert beneath the gloss the finest players can lay bare a disturbingly sinister sense of foreboding. The title stems from the theme of the substantial second movement Andante con moto which is taken from Schubert’s early song setting Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden) D531. This theme is the basis for the resulting set of variations and the impressive Doric characterise these most adroitly. I was especially struck by the funeral march opening with the theme suffused with melancholy and despair as if pining after the death of a loved one. The directly robust and distinctly Slavic Scherzo is free from the melancholic tension of the first two movements but replaces this with a sort of repressed passion. With robust playing at times the players cut deep into their strings without any fear of losing control. Playing with passion and vitality in the Presto, finale the Doric produce a powerful forward momentum that borders on the unruly. This is playing of total assurance which is needed as the conclusion is taken at breakneck speed.
My main recommendation for Death and the Maiden has to be the spellbinding, vital and responsive account from the exceptional Artemis Quartet. This was recorded in 2009 at Siemensvilla in Berlin and is on Virgin Classics 50999 602512 2 0. Following close on its heels is the Italian Quartet whose players are remarkable their sheer technical excellence and impressive imagination. This 1965 Swiss account is on Philips 446 163-2. The beautifully played Belcea version is thrilling. They recorded it in 2009 at Potton Hall, Suffolk and it can be heard on EMI Classics 9 67025 2. I also admire the Hagen’s passionate account recorded in 2009 at Siemensvilla, Berlin. It’s on Deutsche Grammophon 471 740-2. One of their earliest recordings the Henschel Quartet’s fresh and exciting 1997 Munich account is well worth hearing on Arte Nova 47321 59220 2 later reissued on Arte Nova Classics ANO 59220. Also worthy of consideration is the exhilaratingly decisive 1988 account from The Lindsays recorded in Castleton Parish Church, Sheffield. Originally released on ASV CD DCA560 and then on ASV CDDCS243 the recording has also been re-issued on Sanctuary Classics Resonance RSB 403.
The Doric have the benefit of first class sound, closely recorded, cool, crystal clear and with a well-adjusted instrumental balance.
Does the Doric have anything special to say in these works? The answer is yes. These are exceptional accounts; superior to most available in the catalogue. With playing of genuine gravitas Schubert lovers need not hesitate.
Michael Cookson






Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Error processing SSI file