Pfitzner: String Quartet in D minor; String Quartet in C minor

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WORKS: String Quartet in D minor; String Quartet in C minor
PERFORMER: Franz Schubert Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 999 072-2
Hans Pfitzner wrote four string quartets altogether, evenly spaced through his creative career, and the D major Op. 13 and C minor Op. 50 are the second and last works in the sequence, separated by exactly forty years and both well-proportioned and -fashioned four-movement designs. Pfitzner’s music did not change too radically over that period, immunised against change in what was one of the stylistically turbulent periods in musical history by his innate conservatism and unswerving belief in the possibility of creating a sanctified German music. By the time he composed the C minor, in Munich in 1942, even he must have seen the folly of that yearning for nationalist supremacy, but there is little trace of awareness in the quartet. Perhaps the chromatic inflections are a little more anxious than they are in the D major, but the language remains utterly wedded to an unyielding Romanticism that has Beethoven and Brahms as its godfathers. The Franz Schubert Quartet’s performances of both works seem thoughtfully paced and immaculately phrased. Andrew Clements