Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

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ChrisBrewster
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Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by ChrisBrewster » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:17 pm

Let's see, what can I add to that eloquent subject line? I've become a Schumann fan. It's tempting to group him with Mendelssohn and Chopin because of the birth years, and he's by far my favorite of the three. So... any favorite packages of the quartets?

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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:39 am

ChrisBrewster wrote:Let's see, what can I add to that eloquent subject line? I've become a Schumann fan. It's tempting to group him with Mendelssohn and Chopin because of the birth years, and he's by far my favorite of the three. So... any favorite packages of the quartets?
I prefer the unopened packages...the music sounds so much better when it's not played... :wink:
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josé echenique
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by josé echenique » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:40 am

The Thomas Zehetmair Quartet recording won the Gramophone award a few years ago, or if you fancy a period instrument recording, the Eroica Quartet in Harmonia Mundi is very good.

Jack Kelso
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:45 am

ChrisBrewster wrote:Let's see, what can I add to that eloquent subject line? I've become a Schumann fan. It's tempting to group him with Mendelssohn and Chopin because of the birth years, and he's by far my favorite of the three. So... any favorite packages of the quartets?
Yes, there are several excellent ones. In fact, right now I can't think of a poor one. My current favorite is the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin on Thorofon CTH 2554, a label of the Bella Musica Edition. Might be hard to find.

But on EMI Classics 2CD set (7243 5 75175 2 2) Cherubini-Quartet (including the Piano Quintet with Christian Zacharias) these are fine performances as well. And it seems to be reasonable and easy to order.

Had you asked me which recording of the symphonies to recommend, I would have answered unhesitatingly Levine, Muti or Sawallisch (for complete sets). But chamber music is so much more personal. One person might not enjoy a straightforward recording, rather one with rough edges. Yet another demands technical coolness.

The Schumann quartets are not nearly as popular as the Piano Quintet or Piano Quartet, but are even more intimate in depth of expression (esp. nos. 1 and 3). And while Mendelssohn's string quartets are extremely well-written and contain much beauty, the Schumann works rise to powerful climaxes that the former preferred to avoid in his expression.

The four Schumann trios are also superb---and a "must" for any connoisseur of his music. Do you have them?

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

ContrapunctusIX
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:15 am

I would second the Cherubini Qt. recommendation, and also suggest looking at the Naxos offering with the Fine Arts Quartet. FAQ is a fine ensemble, and as a bonus they offer all 3 quartets on one CD.

aurora
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by aurora » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:57 am

I didn't exactly shop around, but I have & like the St. Lawrence 4tet's recordng of #'s 1 & 3

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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:19 pm

ContrapunctusIX wrote:...and also suggest looking at the Naxos offering with the Fine Arts Quartet. FAQ is a fine ensemble, and as a bonus they offer all 3 quartets on one CD.
I love that set :)

Jack Kelso
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:59 pm

The following story, from what I've read, is supposedly true:

One day, Schumann mentioned to his good friend Mendelssohn that he was contemplating either writing some string quartets or undertaking a pilgrimage to Rome.

"That you must decide for yourself, Robert" was Mendelssohn's reply.

Some weeks later, Mendelssohn received copies of three string quartets in the mail and had been poring over the scores for about an hour when his wife walked in. "Oh---are those the quartets from Robert?"

"Yes," Felix answered coolly. "I wish now he had gone to Rome."

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:00 am

Well, of more contemporary recordings, you might want to seek those by the Guarneri Quartet, which recently retired. They recorded all the Op. 41 quartets around 1978 in outstanding sound for RCA [94198, 2 CDs], which is out of print but is available as an Arkiv reprint at a decent price. In my LP collection, I have a set of Schumann's string quartets that appeared on the Westminster LP vinyl record label. I can't recall the group's name, but I remember that I fell in love with those versions. An inexpensive rendering that has had rave reviews. It appears on Naxos [8.570151] with th Fine Arts Quartet. Good luck in your search. For me, choosing chamber music only performed by strings becomes highly personal, more so than in other areas of music. Why? I do not know. Perhaps because it IS so personal to the hearer.
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:18 am

Jack Kelso wrote:The following story, from what I've read, is supposedly true:

One day, Schumann mentioned to his good friend Mendelssohn that he was contemplating either writing some string quartets or undertaking a pilgrimage to Rome.

"That you must decide for yourself, Robert" was Mendelssohn's reply.

Some weeks later, Mendelssohn received copies of three string quartets in the mail and had been poring over the scores for about an hour when his wife walked in. "Oh---are those the quartets from Robert?"

"Yes," Felix answered coolly. "I wish now he had gone to Rome."

Tschüß,
Jack
If it's supposedly true, then perhaps you have it the wrong way round, maybe it was Mendelssohn who sent his String Quartets to Schumann... :wink:
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Jack Kelso
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Jack Kelso » Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:59 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:The following story, from what I've read, is supposedly true:

One day, Schumann mentioned to his good friend Mendelssohn that he was contemplating either writing some string quartets or undertaking a pilgrimage to Rome.

"That you must decide for yourself, Robert" was Mendelssohn's reply.

Some weeks later, Mendelssohn received copies of three string quartets in the mail and had been poring over the scores for about an hour when his wife walked in. "Oh---are those the quartets from Robert?"

"Yes," Felix answered coolly. "I wish now he had gone to Rome."

Tschüß,
Jack
If it's supposedly true, then perhaps you have it the wrong way round, maybe it was Mendelssohn who sent his String Quartets to Schumann... :wink:
Nope. Schumann would have shown the reverse reaction.

Tschüß,
Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by stenka razin » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:16 am

I agree with Jose, he Thomas Zehetmair Quartet CD is supurb, but only contains #1 and #3. To get all 3 on one CD, get the good Naxos versions, by the Fine Arts Quartet discussed above in this thread by my fellow CMGers. Best buy, too.


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val
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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by val » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:24 am

For years, my favorite version of the string quartets was the one of the Italiano Quartet, for the beauty of their sound and their perfect balance.

Today, I prefer the version of the Ysaye Quartet, more subtle, with more contrasts, and a deeply touching poetry in the slow movements (above all in the sublime Adagio molto of the 3rd Quartet).

Regarding the piano Quartet opus 47 I remain fathful to the version of the Beaux Arts Trio with Samuel Rhodes.

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Re: Recommendations for Schumann quartets?

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:42 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Nope. Schumann would have shown the reverse reaction.

Tschüß,
Jack
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