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Schumann: String Quartets

Doric Quartet

Chandos CHAN10692

Schumann’s only set of quartets, Op. 41 (1842) were composed and premiered all together, so they make a natural for a CD.

But I am a little prejudiced against intégrales and for me this a programme not to be played straight through, as would be unusual (sensibly so) in recitals.

The Dorics are powerful newcomers, forceful players, very "masculine" !

Chandos has high recording standards but I did feel that these recordings are a bit "close" miked, possibly too much so for Schumann.

Checking our previous Schumann chamber music reviews I would point readers to a special one of the piano trios, Schumann's coupled with Rhim's by Trio Jean Paul [Ars Musici AM 1241-2] The Trio Jean Paul's 1999 Schumann/Rihm recording is unique and a clear priority; an essential purchase for anyone interest in either composer or both - as here juxtaposed, each illuminating the other. - - (PGW in Seen&Heard)

For the quartets, I have checked the newcomer against re-listening to an earlier MusicalPointers recommendation - the less "driven" Fine Arts Quartet on Naxos - which I would endorse again as against this new - and more costly - set.

For the Dorics in rarer repertoire, try them in Korngold Quartets.

Peter Grahame Woolf