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^ I wouldn't exactly say a fun piece but I don't think Schubert was aiming at a deep investigation of death, either. This is Schubert the extrovert, the entertainer even: I hear him playing to the gallery.
Yeah that sounds right. It's a very dramatic piece. Kind of along the lines of the Erlkönig but in chamber form. Maybe we are expecting too much from it. I'm listening now to the Pavel Haas recording and rather enjoying it. That cellist tears it up. This is a recording where the performers are really digging into their strings which I think is helpful.
 

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Do you see it as a heartwrenching investigation of the psychology of death or just a fun piece? I've always got the impression that I should be hearing it as the former and come out disappointed because it seems kind of cheesy that way.
I've been thinking about it all day. Yeah, it's a loaded nickname; pretend it doesn't exist and try again-remember, Schubert himself never called it that. It's not a bad piece by any means; I really enjoyed it today. And try the Pavel Haas Quartet recording!
 

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Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Sibelius, Mahler, Messiaen
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I've been thinking about it all day. Yeah, it's a loaded nickname; pretend it doesn't exist and try again-remember, Schubert himself never called it that. It's not a bad piece by any means; I really enjoyed it today. And try the Pavel Haas Quartet recording!
Supraphon usually doesn't make it on streaming services, but I'll try and search it out. Maybe I just need to give the classic Busch the attention it deserves, their interpretations usually strike a chord with me.
 

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Quartetto Italiano for me
Me too......

And as for the Quartet's " Nickname", I don't suppose Schubert gave it, and it's so-called because of the second movement variations on the song of the same name.

Then again, choosing such a depressing song as the source of the theme, as well as the atmosphere of the whole piece.....yeah, it's about Death, obsessively so.
 

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This work, D 956, is truly superb. It's one of the best chamber pieces ever written. I prefer it to anything written by Beethoven. How come you aren't too familiar? It's a standard, a real classic. The second movement in particular is fantastic. In the 20 months after Beethoven's death, Schubert went on a composing frenzy partly because he knew that his days were numbered (he died Nov 1828) and partly out of reverence to Beethoven. Just about everything Schubert wrote in this period is a stunner. D 956 was among the very last pieces composed.
I sometimes find myself thinking: "Is Schubert over-rated?". Then I think of the last few string quartets, and the string quintet, and remember.
If a composer had only written one of those, they would still be a great. Absolute masterpieces.
 

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For Death of/and/on/in the Maiden I happen to like this recording. I do have two others but this is the one for me. From the 70's and I believe long out of print after it's LP release. It was available free and legal as a download for a while from the CQ historical website, but no longer I'm afraid. Great playing and sound.

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