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  1. Solved Cases (archive)
    This guy displays an extremely high level of singing, but I don't recognize him. Any ideas? Sounds like late 1920s or early 1930s, but sometimes Soviet recording technology made things sound older than they were.
  2. Blog
    Very little is known about the origins of the Five Minuets and Five German Dances D89, or indeed many of Schubert’s other early works for string quartet. Were there many more of these earlier works (indications in the manuscripts would suggest so) and why did he paste over two movements with...
  3. Blog
    Recommended Kodaly Coull Melos Taneyev Leipziger Highly recommended (I rate all of these for different reasons and couldn't split them) Zemlinsky Diogenes Vienna Konzerthaus Auryn Verdi Modigliani Smetana Alinde
  4. Blog
    Recommended Vienna Konzerthaus Melos Coull Taneyev Highly recommended Zemlinsky Verdi Kodaly Diogenes Leipziger Italiano Top Pick Auryn - again, simply one of the two best performance of the lot. The Auryns are especially convincing in the outer movements. Superb in all departments...
  5. Blog
    Recommended Vienna Zemlinsky Melos Coull Highly recommended Diogenes - more high-quality consistency from this ensemble. More bite here than the recommendable group, hence the elevated status. Leipziger - much better than their troubled 4th, the Leipzigers play with a fine organic flow...
  6. Blog
    Schubert finished his 4th Quartet in 1813 and started working on the 5th straight away and quickly finished it. By the time it was published in 1890, the two middle movements had been lost, and have never been found, leaving us with the opening and closing allegros. It's an interesting quartet...
  7. Blog
    From the dark, dissonant adagio beginning you sense that this is going to be an interesting quartet and Schubert didn't disappoint. Its very much a quartet of two halves (the darker, more serious 1st half followed by the light, Viennese, Haydn-like, energetic, 2nd half). It sounds like a...
  8. Blog
    The 6th quartet is often regarded by some as Schubert's first 'matute' work but considering he was still 16 when he wrote it I don't think we can really call it Franz's coming-of-age quartet. Schubert completed his 6th quartet towards the end of September 1813. It was rediscovered in 1928 and on...
  9. Blog
    The spirit of Beethoven hovers above Schubert's lovely 7th quartet, especially in the more orchestral menuetto and closing Presto. Considering young Franz was a mere 14 or 15 years of age, when he knocked it together it's a remarkable work and, as you know, I'm a sucker for things that sound...
  10. Blog
    Schubert's 9th String Quartet in G minor dates from 1815, when the composer was a mere 18 years of age. It's a quartet that definitely owes some debt of gratitude to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven but it's full of drama The opening Allegro con Brio is beautifully Haydnesque, while the 2nd movement...
  11. Blog
    Given the nickname 'Haushaltung' (Household), due to its lower technical demands and popularity amongst amateurs playing at home, the 10th was written when Schubert was just 16 but it contains some exemplary melodious music and has remained very popular since. This is borne out by the high...
  12. Blog
    Composed when he was around 18 or 19, the 11th is the last of Schubert's 'immature' quartets and one I've always like a lot. Tbh, I've never heard a bad 11th and the list below confirms that opinion, however what makes a recording really stand out in this field is something that others dont have...
  13. Blog
    One of Schubert's finest quartets besides 12-15. Traditional in style but a fine quartet. Btw, I ruled the Amadeus 1980 account out as I found it particularly anachronistic and nasty sounding to these ears. Recommended Taneyev Coull English Signum Belenus Sine Nomine Verdi Amadeus (1957)...
  14. Blog
    Schubert's 12th string quartet, the "Quartettsatz", is generally regarded as the first of his mature works. As the name implies, it's a single movement that Schubert apparently intended to write around but, for reasons unknown, he completed only the first movement and part of a second before...
  15. Blog
    Here's a superbly shot video of the Alban Berg Quartet in DATM. Another quartet where I could be here all day with over 120 recordings in the catalogue of this warhorse. With that in mind I've had to narrow it down to only the cream so even fine accounts by the likes of the Borodin...
  16. Blog
    Schubert's 1824 melancholic masterpiece, was first performed in July 1824 by its dedicatees, the Schuppanzigh Quartet. It would be the only chamber piece of Schubert's published in his lifetime. It received its nickname 'Rosamunde' after the theme of its 2nd movement, which originally formed...
  17. Blog
    Here's a YouTube performance from the Hugo Wolf Quartet So after all of this, here's what I think. As I said, I discussed these elsewhere at length some years ago but these are my current thoughts so are likely to change. Just my views and they will no doubt be contentious for some so don't...
  18. Classical Music Discussion
    Hi everyone, I'm reading a book about Romanticism (Barzun, "Classic, Romantic and Modern"), and one of the points the author makes is that Romanticists were realists, in the sense that they were interested in facts, the multitude of particular truths about the world. So painters, for example...
  19. Blog
    We continue the article from 1928: The undoubted imprint of the wide element of Schubert's work is also reflected in Russian music, originating from Glinka, one who lived in the first half of the 19th century and whose name Anton Rubinstein, in his famous book included among the five world...
  20. Blog
    This article was published in one of Leningrad's Academic journals in 1928, one of Glazunov's last written works before leaving the USSR to attend/adjudicate the competition for completing Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, and never to return to the USSR again. Glazunov explained that the purpose...
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