Late-Romantic Continuum . . .
Cultural enthusiasts may find it diverting to consider the curious late-Romantic continuum of musical idiom between late-Brahms, early-Schönberg, and late-Strauss, wherein they richly explore the strange seas of post-Wagnerian chromatic harmony.
In the case of this Nash Ensemble disc featuring the string sextet Prelude to Capriccio and the string septet Metamorphosen, the point is (a bit) humorously observable: the elderly Strauss in his ripest `Indian Summer' has rediscovered a preference very in the vein of the youthful Schönberg's precocious early style.
Indeed, there are virtually as many aural parallels between Strauss's own early style (cf. Don Juan, Don Quixote, Enoch Arden, 1888-97) and Schönberg's first period masterpieces (e.g., Verklärte Nacht, First String Quartet, First Chamber Symphony, 1899-1906), as there are between the latter and Strauss's late Sonatinas and Metamorphosen (1943-45).
(One might add that by this organic view it seems a case of critical overkill to frame Strauss's last works as outright `neo-Romanticism'.)
The estimable Nash Ensemble has perhaps worked in the older Melos's shadow, but nevertheless has produced much fine work over the years, and these 2006 realizations are no exception.
Recorded sound seems satisfactory--(this is an Hyperion label issue, after all).
This set includes the Piano Quartet also presented by the Mozart Piano Quartet on MDG; alternately too the Metamorphosen and Prelude are found with the String Quartet on MDG's superb issue by the redoubtable Leipziger String Quartet--(one of the three great super-heavyweight quartet ensembles currently working--the others being the Prazák and the Emerson).