One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 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


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963)
String Quartet No.1 “Carillon” (1933) [21:11]
String Quartet No.2 (1945-48) [26:20]
Anton WEBERN (1883-1945)
Langsamer Satz for string quartet (1905) [10:00]
Airis String Quartet
rec. 2018, Concert Hall of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice
CD ACCORD ACD 245-2 [63:09]

For their debut album the Airis String Quartet has selected the quartets of Karl Amadeus Hartmann. They have added what may seem a strange miniature to conclude, Webern’s innocent and very un-Webernian sounding Langsamer Satz of 1905. Yet it makes perfect sense. It was composed in the year of Hartmann’s birth and it was to Webern that Hartmann journeyed in 1942 to study. They stayed friends for what remained of Webern’s life and this charming idyll, burnished with late-Romanticism and brief fearful intimations is, in effect, a yearning love song to Wilhelmine Mortl, later his wife, and stands at the end of the programme to offer expressive hope after Hartmann’s two powerful, troubled and troubling works.

Hartmann’s First Quartet dates from 1933 and opens with a dangerously Jewish melody, the music having a terse, tense, brusque quality that alternates with lively folkloric, Bartókian elements. Each instrument has its soloistic moments but strongly housed within the quartet texture. The slow movement (Con sordino) has a harmonically remote element to it, though the themes embody an element of songfulness that, whilst not ingratiating, still offers a strange other-wordly quality. The finale sees a resumption of Bartók-inspired drama, though now accompanied by some ominous elements. For their first recording the Airis sound remarkably poised and confident, and project the tensile drama of this quartet with fire and precision.

The demands of the more expansive post-war Second Quartet are met just as well. The opening slow introduction to the first movement – reprising the procedure of the 1933 quartet – finds the Airis at their expressive best; so too in the increasingly chromaticism of the music and its unison gruffness, where their attention to detail really pays off. Similarly they locate the haunting seriousness of the Andantino – it reminds one that this work was dedicated to the composer’s wife, Elizabeth – which absorbs plenty of beautifully sustained eloquence and intensity. It’s certainly far more laden and freighted with feeling than the corresponding central movement of the first quartet. The taut finale enshrines reminiscences of earlier themes and is memorably vivid, tensile and forward-moving.

The Hartmann quartets are hardly newcomers to the discography, but the Airis Quartet prove persuasive exponents, more extrovert than the Zehetmair Quartet (ECM) and tonally rather richer than the Pellegrini on CPO. The Vogler on Nimbus are worth hearing too and rather faster than the Airis. A rather different case is the performance of the DoelenKwartet, on Cybele, part of a 3-CD set that includes other works and spoken interview with Hartmann’s son Richard.

With good notes and a front-of-the-stalls very immediate recording set-up, the Airis have contributed strongly to Hartmann’s important legacy of chamber music on disc.

Jonathan Woolf  



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


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

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

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
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger