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Schubert: The Last Quartets, 12-15 Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, July 30, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

2 CDs on Schubert-The Last Quartets

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Allegro
  2. Quatuor No. 14 - D Minor - Op. Posth., D. 810: Andante con moto
  3. Quatuor No. 14 - D Minor - Op. Posth., D. 810: Scherzo. Allegro molto
  4. Quatuor No. 14 - D Minor - Op. Posth., D. 810: Presto
  5. Quatuor No. 13 - A Minor - Op. 29,1; D. 804: Allegro ma non troppo
  6. Quatuor No. 13 - A Minor - Op. 29,1; D. 804: Andante
  7. Quatuor No. 13 - A Minor - Op. 29,1; D. 804: Menuetto. Allegretto
  8. Quatuor No. 13 - A Minor - Op. 29,1; D. 804: Allegro moderato

Disc: 2

  1. Quatuor No. 15 - G Minor - Op. 161, D. 887: Allegro molto moderato
  2. Quatuor No. 15 - G Minor - Op. 161, D. 887: Andante un poco moto
  3. Quatuor No. 15 - G Minor - Op. 161, D. 887: Scherzo. Allegro vivace
  4. Quatuor No. 15 - G Minor - Op. 161, D. 887: Allegro assai
  5. Allegro assai


Product Details

  • Performer: Melos Quartet
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (July 30, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00000078H
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Schubert had already composed 11 complete string quartets and several fragments of unfinished ones when he set out to compose a trilogy of quartets in early 1824. Two of these, No. 13 in A-minor (Rosamunde) and No. 14 in D-minor (Death and the Maiden), were completed in March of that year, but No. 15 in G was not completed until 1826. They, along with the later piano trios and the string quintet, comprise some of the greatest chamber music ever written and on a par with the chamber music of Beethoven.

In at least the first two, Schubert makes use of melodies from earlier songs or, in the case of the second movement of No. 13, from an entr'acte in Schubert's incidental music for the failed play "Rosamunde, Queen of Cyprus" (though this unforgettable melody may have originated as a now-lost song). These quartets have quite varied characters: the introspective and at times contrapuntal No. 13, the highly dramatic and tragic No. 14, and the spacious and melodic No. 15. They adhere to standard classical structure, but are also imbued with romantic fervor.

Besides the three completed quartets Nos. 13-15, the set also includes the "Quartettsatz," the first movement of an unfinished quartet in C-minor (Schubert composed 41 measures of a second movement and then stopped), which has been given the status of Quartet No. 12. The completed first movement is one of the best that Schubert ever wrote and shows that by 1820 he had advanced musically to the level of his later years.

There are a great many recordings of these quartets individually, but not so many as a set. The Melos Quartett recorded all of Schubert's quartets in the 1970's, possibly the first group to do so. The recordings on this 2 CD set are not from that series but were recorded in 1989 and 1991.
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This is a superb performance of Schubert's last string quartets. The phrasing and articulation are crisp and clean - faithful to the end of the Classical era. But the players bring this music to life with dynamics and tempi that bring us to the Romantic era. Informative liner notes (in English only) are included.
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