Schubert: String Quartet No. 13 in A minor (Rosamnde); String Quartet No. 14 in D minor (Death and the Maiden)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert
WORKS: String Quartet No. 13 in A minor (Rosamnde); String Quartet No. 14 in D minor (Death and the Maiden)
PERFORMER: Takács Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67585
Schubert’s two most accessible

Advertisement

quartets receive interpretations on

this disc which are as near ideal as

one is ever likely to hear. In a time

of great string quartet playing, the

Takács Quartet stand out for the

passion and the poise of their playing.

Of these two agonised works, the

Rosamunde Quartet in A minor is

tricky in that it is easy to render it

invertebrate with grief. The Takács

avoid this, partly by taking fairly

brisk tempos, partly by avoiding

the excessive vibrato which more

emotional teams bring to it. And they

bring a charm to the last movement,

which makes its underlying sadness

all the more poignant. The absolutely

ideal Hyperion recording, which has

great depth and warmth, enables us

to hear all the accompanying detail,

without making it seem as if the four

instruments are of equal importance

all the time – which they manifestly

aren’t in Schubert.

The D minor Quartet, Death and

the Maiden, is a savage and despairing

piece, yet it still has to be kept within

bounds – just. Once more the Takács

manage this perfectly, and though

they realise all the stridency of the

work, their performance never leads

Advertisement

to aural fatigue. Michael Tanner