One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Bax Piano Music

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
String Quartet No. 2 Op. 10 [30:46]
String Quartet No. 4 Op. 37 [33:26]
Gringolts Quartet
Malin Hartelius (soprano)
rec. SRF Studio, Zürich, 2016
BIS BIS-2267 SACD [64:59]

For a long time I have favoured the Arditti String Quartet’s version of the Schoenberg (MO 782024), and this despite finding the voice of Dawn Upshaw a little too smooth for the music. After this set vanished from my collection I have made do with the LaSalle Quartet on Brilliant (9016), Margaret Price in the final two movements of the String Quartet No. 2 having the edge over Upshaw. Whilst I appreciate that putting the Arditti ahead of the LaSalle might be a sacrilege for some, there is just a little something that moves me more.

In this company the Gringolts Quartet and Malin Hartelius have hard acts to follow, and while they give excellent and committed performances, for me they just don’t quite make it to the heights of the Arditti. They are not far off, however. I find their performance a little too polished at times, this takes the edge of the music. At other times, though, the greater sound quality leads to greater insight into the music. This is especially so in the Litanei, Langsam and Entrückung Sehr langsam movements of No. 2 where the words of Stefan George are enunciated perfectly by Malin Hartelius. Hartelius manages to bring the angst out of the text far more than either Upshaw or Price achieves. It is just little things that for me win the day for the Arditti, but their performance is heard in the context of the complete string quartets. When the Gringolts Quartet record the rest, and I hope that BIS does let them record the first and third as well as the early D Major, my opinion might well change.

So for me, whilst the Gringolts Quartet does not achieve top billing at the moment, this recording has a lot going for it, and they might well achieve the top if BIS allows them to record the next instalment. As of now, one of the winning aspects of this recording is the recorded sound, by far the best, and I have only had a chance to listen to the stereo version at the moment. Another is the booklet essays which have been drawn from experts at the Arnold Schönberg Centre, Vienna. These are the most informative and enlightening of all the notes I know.

Stuart Sillitoe

Previous review: Dave Billinge



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger