To a large extent due to the efforts of Berkant Haydin, an expert in the music of the relatively obscure late Romantic Austrian composer Joseph Marx (1882-1964), there has been a spate in the past few years of the composer's music in various forms. This CD of his complete output of string quartets, however, is the first duplication in that effort. Earlier, on the ASV label, the Lyric Quartet recorded them, and now members of the Thomas Christian Ensemble have done so as well. Haydin has supplied very extensive and informative, if somewhat adulatory, information in the liner notes.
Marx was an arch-conservative who bucked the trend in Austrian music to go the way of Schönberg, Berg and Webern. He was enormously respected as composer and educator in his time but more recent reputation has until now rested primarily on the occasional programming of his songs. He wrote in all forms and here at Amazon I have reviewed positively recordings several of his orchestral works, including large tone poems, orchestral songs and piano concerti. This CD and the earlier Lyric Quartet recording are the only generally available issue of any of his chamber music, and on the basis of these three works I'd say there is more to be discovered.
The three quartets, written in the 1930s and 1940s, are very much in the vein of similar music by Korngold, Schreker and Pfitzner, say, but have their own discernible voice. For more information please see my reviews of the Lyric Quartet's recording on ASV at the US site of Amazon.com. The Thomas Christian Ensemble and the Lyric Quartet bring similar merits to their performances of the quartets and there is little to choose between them. Still, one is glad to have multiple recordings of works as lovely as these.