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Schumann: String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 & 3 [CD]

Doric String Quartet Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘one of the finest young string quartets’, whose members are ‘musicians with fascinating things to say’ the Doric String Quartet has received glowing responses from audiences and critics across the globe. In 2008 the Quartet won 1st prize in the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan, 2nd prize at the Premio Paolo ... Read more in Amazon's Doric String Quartet Store

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Product details

  • Composer: Robert Schumann
  • Audio CD (26 Sep 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B005JA9UNE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. String Quartet No. 1 in a Minor, Op. 41/1 - Doric String Quartet
2. String Quartet No. 2 in F Major, Op. 41/2 - Doric String Quartet
3. String Quartet No. 3 in a Major, Op. 41/3 - Doric String Quartet

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Review

This outstanding ensemble, still young, having formed while students in 1998, has already made a mark with Korngold and Walton recordings on Chandos. With this disc they move into core repertoire: Schumann's three Op 41 (1842) quartets were written in a fury of creativity after prolonged study of Haydn, Mozart and, especially, the late quartets of Beethoven. His influence is heard repeatedly, in the long, serene melody of the No 1 adagio and the dense argument of the opening movement of No 2. But the ardent lyricism is Schumann's alone. He wrote other chamber works but no more quartets. The Dorics play with warmth, finesse and exciting attack. --The Observer,02/10/11

Finely interpreted. --Sunday Times,09/10/11

Here s a disc that merits an especially big welcome(This CD) brings together all three of these wonderful but so often misunderstood quartets. The playing has all the fragile pathos, volatility, exuberance, and quirky humour one hopes to find in this music, along with an exceptionally strong feeling for Schumann's sometime literally off-beat rhythmic thinking. The Doric Quartet also have a compelling sense of how Schumann's moods can turn on a musical sixpence; childlike joy one moment, heartbreak the next. The recordings are vintage Chandos in their fine but glossy tone, with a lovely close perspective on the ensemble; intimate without being intimidating> Performance ***** Recording ***** BBC MUSIC CHOICE *RECORDING OF THE MONTH* --BBC Music Magazine,Dec'11

A very personal take on the Schumann quartets from this highly gifted British ensemble, adding to its already impressive track record on the chamber music scene. **** --Classic fm Magazine,Dec'11

They play up Schumann's unique combination of whimsy and fervour...These are performances that make you fall in love with the music all over again. RECORDING OF THE MONTH --Gramophone,Dec'11

Honest accounts of Schumann's three string quartets. --IRR,Dec'11

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Doric String Quartet

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy listening - molto agitato 23 Oct 2011
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
The famous chalk lithograph of Schumann by Eduard Kaiser from c.1847 is reproduced in the booklet here. Whenever I look at it, I invariably find it vaguely depressing: the sitter's dour expression, lank, greasy hair, receding chin and pronounced overbite inevitably convey the impression of an unhappy and ill-favoured soul. The signs of mental instability, depression and disease which eventually curtailed his creative and ultimately his physical life are already apparent and I find that this music from five years earlier in 1842 already foreshadows future sorrows.

These are fast, fierce accounts which emphasise the driven, sombre quality of much of the music. Schumann is often given to insistent elaboration upon one melancholy theme and his musical ideas are rarely sunny or uplifting. The unity both of mood and musical method is reinforced by the unifying mediant key relationship common to these three quartets, moving from A minor to F major then to A major, This relationship by thirds reflects Schumann's conception of these three quartets as inter-related works to be appreciated holistically rather than in isolation. The emphasis, following Schumann's immersion in Beethoven's late quartets seems to me to be more upon craftsmanship than inspiration; I sometimes hear a certain formulaic doggedness in his manner of exposition. These are not works which have found a permanent or regular place in the concert repertoire; I think this is at least partly explained by their predominant darkness and a lack of variety, both in mood and Schumann's manipulation of certain key, repetitive themes.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful String Quartets - Why only 3? 18 Jan 2012
By Robert L. Mackenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Schumann wrote only three String Quartets, and all at the same time. This performance is superb and the recoding is magnificent. Listen to the famous slow movement of the first Quartet. A great bonus on this CD is that it is complete - there are many recordings of the 1st and 3rd, but not many of the 2nd, and I know not why. It is our loss that Schumann, that most intimate of composers, only felt the String Quartet urge once in his life. Very highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collector item status! 6 April 2012
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I had the chance - some days ago -to listen several times a fabulous Schubert Octet by this fabulous ensemble. And so, I made the request of this album, in order to prove once more their interpretive powers. And the outcome is simply undescribable. These young musicians owe expression, driving force and exultant lyricism.

I would like to remark that we are living a golden age respect the memorable chamber ensembles around the world. Think about in Lindsays, Talich, Takacs, Panocha, Belcea and this one, and you will understand there are motives for being so grateful with these human beings who contribute the chamber music genre has cemented its own space.

Don't miss these recordings.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy listening - molto agitato 25 Oct 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The famous chalk lithograph of Schumann by Eduard Kaiser from c.1847 is reproduced in the booklet here. Whenever I look at it, I invariably find it vaguely depressing: the sitter's dour expression, lank, greasy hair, receding chin and pronounced overbite inevitably convey the impression of an unhappy and ill-favoured soul. The signs of mental instability, depression and disease which eventually curtailed his creative and ultimately his physical life are already apparent and I find that this music from five years earlier in 1842 already foreshadows future sorrows.

These are fast, fierce accounts which emphasise the driven, sombre quality of much of the music. Schumann is often given to insistent elaboration upon one melancholy theme and his musical ideas are rarely sunny or uplifting. The unity both of mood and musical method is reinforced by the unifying mediant key relationship common to these three quartets, moving from A minor to F major then to A major, This relationship by thirds reflects Schumann's conception of these three quartets as inter-related works to be appreciated holistically rather than in isolation. The emphasis, following Schumann's immersion in Beethoven's late quartets seems to me to be more upon craftsmanship than inspiration; I sometimes hear a certain formulaic doggedness in his manner of exposition. These are not works which have found a permanent or regular place in the concert repertoire; I think this is at least partly explained by their predominant darkness and a lack of variety, both in mood and Schumann's manipulation of certain key, repetitive themes. Very often, he opens a movement by stating a haunting, falling motif such as we hear in the introduction to the A minor quartet or the emphatic 6/8 figure characterising the second movement Presto, and these ideas are reiterated almost obsessively. Moments of release, relief or serenity are fleeting; the Adagio opens with a lyrical melody that soon becomes more sorrowful and yearning than consolatory. Some find the Presto finale to be joyful and insouciant; to me it sounds increasingly agitated and uneasy. This pattern is repeated in the F major quartet and I cannot say that I find the second movement variations very interesting compared with what Schubert or Beethoven can do. A tiny little skipping Scherzo provides light relief and the concluding Allegro molto vivace puts the seal on this as the sunniest of the three quartets.

The third A major quartet is the longest and grandest and also reverts to sombre sadness. I do not find the quasi-variations in the second movement much more engaging than those in the second quartet, and while the Adagio molto provides welcome lyricism, it is as always laced with anxiety. Some find the finale optimistic and affirming; once again, I hear a more conflicted, perhaps even paradoxical, emotional complexity in its manic stutterings. When Schubert adopts this frenetic mode, such as in the Allegretto concluding the String Quintet D956, I hear a reassuring sense of the music smiling through tears; here, we are grinning in the dark.

The 24 bit sound is superb but so close and clear that we hear too much sniffing obbligato from the instrumentalists. I find the photograph on the cover featuring our quartet dressed like Mafiosi in a sylvan setting, complemented by similarly posed shots in the booklet and the back cover, to be distinctly sinister - but perhaps this is apt, given the tenor of so much of the music. The playing of the Doric String Quartet is exceptionally honed and precise; their intonation is excellent. They could, however, bring a little more warmth and tenderness to the Adagios as their tempi are brisk compared with competitive recordings.

While I find much to admire here, other reviewers writing have on the whole been more enthusiastic about this music than I, although I note that they make some of the points I am striving to convey regarding a certain dourness in these quartets. I do not pretend to be a Schumann specialist and was drawn to investigate this music because I enjoy many of his other works but I find myself as often disturbed and perplexed by its uneasiness as I am charmed by its lyricism.
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