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Schumann - String Quartets Nos 1 - 3 CD


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Product details

  • Composer: Robert Schumann
  • Audio CD (27 Nov. 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000JVSVF6
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,570 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1: I. Introduzione: Andante espressivo - Allegro 9:37Album Only
Listen  2. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1: II. Scherzo: Presto - Intermezzo 3:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1: III. Adagio 5:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1: IV. Presto 6:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41, No. 2: I. Allegro vivace 4:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41, No. 2: II. Andante quasi Variazioni 8:30Album Only
Listen  7. String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41, No. 2: III. Scherzo: Presto 3:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41, No. 2: IV. Allegro molto vivace 4:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41, No. 3: I. Andante espressivo - Allegro molto moderato 8:07Album Only
Listen10. String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41, No. 3: II. Assai agitato - Un poco adagio - Tempo risoluto 7:12£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41, No. 3: III. Adagio molto 8:54Album Only
Listen12. String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41, No. 3: IV. Finale: Allegro molto vivace 7:39£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Quatuors à cordes n°1, n°2 & n°3, op.41 / Fine Arts Quartet (Ralph Evans & Efim Boico, violon - Yuri Gandelsman, alto - Wolfgang Laufer, violoncelle)

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Dec. 2006
Format: Audio CD
It has been extremely unusual until very recently for all three Schumann Quartets, his Op. 41, to be recorded on one CD. Usually we would get Nos. 2 & 3, and although there have been a few other CDs that contained all three -- including those of the Quatuor Ysaye and Eroica Quartets -- this is, I believe, the best of the lot. And at budget price, too! Quatuor Ysaye, in my opinion, gives a rather flaccid account of No. 1 and has some intonational problems. The Eroica Quartet plays on gut strings, and although that doesn't necessarily disqualify them -- I'd love to hear Quatuor Mosaïques play these works -- I was somehow not terribly pleased with their accounts even though others have raved about them; I think my main objection was the sound of the cello, which seemed rather nasal.

The Fine Arts Quartet has been in residence at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee for years and have been concertizing for fifty years -- three of the members have been in the quartet for twenty-five years -- and have made some outstanding recordings over that time; I particularly like their set of the Mozart quintets. (They are not, by the way, to be confused with the similarly named and similarly distinguished Pro Arte Quartet, long resident at the sister campus of the University of Wisconsin - Madison.) They are a rock-solid non-flashy but very musical quartet who have given us satisfying performances year after year.

I was won over by their spirited manner with the scherzo of the First Quartet, with its galloping rhythms and daredevil tempo; the same comment applies to the quartet's finale.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Aug. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Greatly though I love Schumann, I keep finding his string quartets worthy but just slightly dull, so I have to ask myself why. They don't lack for melody for instance, there is plenty of soul and depth in the expression as well, and I would not even be worried to find Schumann's well known shortcomings, namely a rather colourless instrumental tone and some lack of fluency in the construction. Schumann outdoes his great contemporary Mendelssohn when it comes to profundity, but I only have to spend a few minutes in the company of any of Mendelssohn's quartets to appreciate how much more adept he was. Still - I don't find Mendelssohnian mastery in Schumann's piano quartet or piano quintet either, but they thrill me uncommonly, and the difference is staring me in the face. In the string quartets Schumann is pining for his beloved piano.

In that I case I guess that the rating we give to performances of the quartets depends how we view the music itself. If you do not share my reservations about it then you will want renditions that are faithful to the special qualities of the works, and those are many. Even from my own point of view, it is always a slightly risky business to ask for accounts of any music that `sell' it by the way of well-intentioned liberties. What you will get here from the Fine Arts Quartet is AAA fidelity. This is echt Schumann. The depth is there, the periodical quirkiness is there in the scherzos, the tempi seem to me admirably judged, the technique is immaculate, and the recording (vintage 2006) is of the quality we expect in the third millennium.

There is a slightly average liner note, but it is helpful in providing the biographical background to the works. What is well above average is the bargain offered by Naxos.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Moncho on 16 April 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In Schuman's repertoire I prefer the chamber music and this low cost Naxos CD of the string quartets 1-3 is an excellent choice. Naxos is a blessing for those who love classical music!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
All Three Schumann Quartets on One CD 22 Dec. 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It has been extremely unusual until very recently for all three Schumann Quartets, his Op. 41, to be recorded on one CD. Usually we would get Nos. 2 & 3, and although there have been a few other CDs that contained all three -- including those of the Quatuor Ysaye and Eroica Quartets -- this is, I believe, the best of the lot. And at budget price, too! Quatuor Ysaye, in my opinion, gives a rather flaccid account of No. 1 and has some intonational problems. The Eroica Quartet plays on gut strings, and although that doesn't necessarily disqualify them -- I'd love to hear Quatuor Mosaïques play these works -- I was somehow not terribly pleased with their accounts even though others have raved about them; I think my main objection was the sound of the cello, which seemed rather nasal.

The Fine Arts Quartet has been in residence at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee for years and have been concertizing for fifty years -- three of the members have been in the quartet for twenty-five years -- and have made some outstanding recordings over that time; I particularly like their set of the Mozart quintets. (They are not, by the way, to be confused with the similarly named and similarly distinguished Pro Arte Quartet, long resident at the sister campus of the University of Wisconsin - Madison.) They are a rock-solid non-flashy but very musical quartet who have given us satisfying performances year after year.

I was won over by their spirited manner with the scherzo of the First Quartet, with its galloping rhythms and daredevil tempo; the same comment applies to the quartet's finale. (A personal confession: The first time I ever heard this quartet -- played brilliantly in concert by the American String Quartet -- I thought that the group had gotten out of sync at the end of the finale, not realizing that the final low A of the cello comes an eighth note after the upper instruments play their final chord. I recall saying later something to the ASQ's cellist, David Geber, and he simply pointed to the last page of the score, to my red-faced embarrassment.)

The Second Quartet begins with one of Schumann's loveliest melodies, reminding me a bit of the expansive arch of the opening theme of Brahms's First Quintet, Op. 88. The second movement, the Andante quasi Variazioni, is a somehow little less songful than one might have hoped, even though the Fine Arts give it a fine reading, but the following scherzo and allegro molto vivace bring the quartet to a rousing finish. The Andante espressivo introduction of the Third Quartet is as songful as one could ask, followed by an equally soulful Allegro molto moderato. (I think I love this movement best of all the Schumann quartet movements.) The Fine Arts do a brilliant job of conveying the movement's charming diffidence alternating with impulsive interjections. For some reason the Third's second movement reminds me of one of Rachmaninov's piano miniatures (e.g. the Humoresque); I wonder if Rachy knew this quartet? The Fine Arts play it with quicksilver charm. The deeply-felt melancholy of the Adagio molto comes as a bit of surprise after that second movement; the Fine Arts give it all the feeling it requires, even not eschewing an occasional portamento of the sort more commonly heard half a century ago but entirely appropriate and effective in this movement. The Third's finale, Allegro molto vivace, with its bouncy dotted rhythms is a bracing end to this set of three quartets. It seems odd to me that the Schumann quartets seem to reside somewhere on the margins of the standard quartet literature, at least as judged by their sparse appearances on quartet programs.

The Fine Arts Quartet -- Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violins; Yuri Gandelsman, viola; Wolfgang Laufer, cello -- are one of America's best quartets and one that should be recording more. One hopes this set, recorded in January 2006 at the Wittem Monastery in the Netherlands, will be followed soon by more releases.

Sound is lifelike. Keith Anderson's booklet notes are excellent; they give instructive indications of the structure of the quartets. This is an outstanding set made all the more attractive by its budget price.

Scott Morrison
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is what you might want to listen to, after your collection contains the Schumann piano chamber pieces. 30 May 2010
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
(1) Quartet in A minor.

ANDANTE. This piece starts calmly. At 2 minutes, there is a brief flourish, like a musical clearing of the throat, followed by more calmness. At 3 minutes, things speed up, and we are treated to a lively skipping motif. The lively skipping motif goes like this, "CHA! Cha-chung!" As we listen to this piece, this motif sounds like a child skipping along the sidewalk.

SCHERZO. This piece features a jittery motif, where the violins play, "Da-da-dum," as if beginning (but not following through with) the Lone Ranger Theme. The jittery Lone Ranger Theme is repeated at various intervals, and sandwiched in between the jitters, comes a weird little tune. The weird little tune sounds like a normal tune played backwards. (Baby boomers will be familiar with the recordings of the Beatles that contain drum sounds played backwards, and other musical sounds played backwards.)

ADAGIO. This is a calm piece featuring, at the beginning, pizzicato plucks. This piece doesn't have much of a discernable tune. Adagio is suitable for granny knitting by the fireplace.

PRESTO. This piece has a 3-note trumpeting motif that is similar to that of the Finale of Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major. The fast-moving PRESTO changes moods, like a railroad train passing villages, going over bridges, through tunnels, or rushing past a train moving in the opposite direction. PRESTO concludes with a hushed church hymn, which is interrupted by the 3-note trumpeting motif.

(2) Quartet in F major.

ALLEGRO VIVACE. This is a calm piece suitable for company at dinner. At 2 and a half minutes, the piece ascends, using a stress-inducing melody. Then, the calm dinner-company tune returns. I don't know why this piece is called, "allegro vivace." There is nothing about this tune that is "vivace."

ANDANTE. More calm music for company at dinner. At one and a half minutes, comes an unusual descending motif, followed by an ocean swell nuance. At 3 minutes come pizzicato plucks, followed by an ocean swell nuance. At 6 minutes, comes a short hiccupping interlude that goes, "Dee-dee-hic!" At 7 minutes and 45 seconds, is a slow waltz.

SCHERZO. This lively piece has a rocking motif, that comes with a descending motif, as if sitting in a row boat rocking in gentle waves. Rocking, descending. Rocking, descending. At one minute 20 seconds, comes a tune where the violins provide scraping sounds, propelling the other instruments forward. The scraping sounds are like that of the violins in Eleanor Rigby.

ALLEGRO. This is a lively piece that shifts moods from time to time, though I was not able to discern any particular melody or hook.

(3) Quartet in A major.

ANDANTE. This piece has an undulating quality, as though somebody was fooling around with the volume knob, turning it louder, softer, louder, softer, louder, softer. From time to time, there is a short tune with a repeated 2-note motif, suitable for some romantic movie from the 1930s, where some heartbroken woman throws herself on her bed.

ASSAI AGITATO. The piece starts out dreamy and quiet, with no particular melody. At 50 seconds, the mood changes, and we are treated to a rapid tune, driven by triplets. At one minute, 40 seconds, the triplets are abandoned, and the music gets faster and louder, sounding almost like the Finale of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, in terms of its urgency and continuing embryonic issuance of various themes. At 2 minutes, 20 seconds, the piece becomes dreamy and quiet. At 4 minutes, 50 seconds, the piece gets loud and pleasantly strident.

ADAGIO. This piece is slow and dreamy. At 1 min, 40 seconds, comes a very quiet mysterious-sounding part, where a pair of violins signal in Morse code. They go, "DIT-DA, DIT-DA, DIT-DA." At 3 minutes, 45 seconds, the Morse code motif is discontinued. At 4 minutes, 40 seconds, the Morse code returns, and a minute later all of the strings get fairly loud, and the Morse code still goes, "DIT-DA, DIT-DA, DIT-DA." Then, things get quiet again.

ALLEGRO. This piece begins with a lively motif, not really a tune though. The lively motif goes like this: DAAAAA! Dee-dee, dee-dee, dee-dee, dee-dee-DAAAAA!" This particular motif is repeated often, and interesting things are sandwiched in between it. What gets sandwiched in between are optimistic-sounding, jaunty sea shanty motifs. The optimistic sea shanty motifs, not quite long enough to be called tunes, can easy be hummed by the layperson.

CONCLUSION. Any person reading this review likely owns all of the Schumann recordings for piano, and most likely owns a couple of different recordings of the QUINTET for Piano in E flat major (op. 44), and of the QUARTET for Piano in E flat major (op. 47). But what might have been overlooked, is the amazing recording by Heinz Holliger and Alfred Brendel of Schumann's works for oboe and piano, which consists of the 3 Romances, the Evening Song, Adagio and Allegro, Fantasiestucke, and 5 Stucke im Voklston (Philips label, recorded in 1979). Some of the same tunes found on Holliger's recording, appear on the Schumann's Sonata No. 1 and Sonata No. 2 (I have the recording by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich). At any rate, the NAXOS recordings of the the Schumann string quartets contains 80 minutes of music.

I am not sure why so few recordings of these 3 Schumann pieces are available while, in contrast, over one hundred recordings are available for the Beethoven string quartets. I don't think that the Beethoven string quartets are one hundred times more interesting, or one hundred times more listenable, than these Schumann pieces.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Schumann's 3 string quartets 16 Feb. 2008
By Mr. Ra Gannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of the few CD's that have all 3 quartets on one CD and happily it is also one of the best. The playing is warm and very clear and add to this the budget price of Naxos , this is an unmissable treat.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
NO PIANO 25 Aug. 2009
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Greatly though I love Schumann, I keep finding his string quartets worthy but just slightly dull, so I have to ask myself why. They don't lack for melody for instance, there is plenty of soul and depth in the expression as well, and I would not even be worried to find Schumann's well known shortcomings, namely a rather colourless instrumental tone and some lack of fluency in the construction. Schumann outdoes his great contemporary Mendelssohn when it comes to profundity, but I only have to spend a few minutes in the company of any of Mendelssohn's quartets to appreciate how much more adept he was. Still - I don't find Mendelssohnian mastery in Schumann's piano quartet or piano quintet either, but they thrill me uncommonly, and the difference is staring me in the face. In the string quartets Schumann is pining for his beloved piano.

In that I case I guess that the rating we give to performances of the quartets depends how we view the music itself. If you do not share my reservations about it then you will want renditions that are faithful to the special qualities of the works, and those are many. Even from my own point of view, it is always a slightly risky business to ask for accounts of any music that `sell' it by the way of well-intentioned liberties. What you will get here from the Fine Arts Quartet is AAA fidelity. This is echt Schumann. The depth is there, the periodical quirkiness is there in the scherzos, the tempi seem to me admirably judged, the technique is immaculate, and the recording (vintage 2006) is of the quality we expect in the third millennium.

There is a slightly average liner note, but it is helpful in providing the biographical background to the works. What is well above average is the bargain offered by Naxos. I readily confess that when I decided to add Schumann's quartets to my collection at long last I chose on the basis of price, knowing from happy experience how to relate that to value from Naxos. If I felt some ungovernable passion to listen to more accounts of these quartets I see from other reviews that there are some admirable alternatives, a number of them probably doing more to ginger up the music in the way I secretly prefer. If I may, I shall duck the responsibility of hearing the others and simply refer any readers of this notice to the other reviews. From any objective point of view the accounts we have here are what a reviewer ought to be recommending. Apart from anything else, here are all three quartets, nearly 80 minutes of music, on one disc.
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