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  Schubert: String Quartets Vol. III - Mandelring Quartett
  Schubert: String Quartet No. 9 in G minor D.173, String Quartet No. 15 in G major D.887

Mandelring Quartett
Track listing:
  Classical - Chamber
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 4

Reviews: 2

Site review by Polly Nomial June 17, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by andrewb August 7, 2007 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The fascinating and long first movement allegro of this, Schubert’s last string quartet, was probably the only part to be performed in his lifetime, and then only at a private concert. The first known public performance of the entire quartet is not thought to have taken place until more than twenty years after his tragically early demise.

The Mandelring Quartet produce a sophisticated and beautiful reading that constantly absorbs one thoughts. In the opening movement when the main theme, with its achingly heartfelt opening, is played on violin and then later repeated on first cello and then viola, the twists, turn and repeats are presented with a remarkable clarity. Throughout it is an exceptional performance; it has fine articulation but this is coupled with a natural and warm sound that allows one to luxuriate in the magical interchanges as both the first and second movements unfold. The dance like closing movements give perhaps less opportunity for display of the musical construction but each one is rendered with its own seductive quality.

This highly cultured and civilised account by the Mandelring’s might be described as typically Viennese, for it eschews the extremes that other quartets often adopt and exhibits instead a warm and sophisticated quality leading to a powerful and cumulative emotional intensity; but never such that it will unbalance the musical structure. With this performance I have found, particularly in the first and second movements, new insight and understanding at almost every turn. Like volume 2 of this series, the ensemble of the Mandelring Quartet is astonishing.

The very much simpler G minor quartet (D173) was written 11 years earlier in 1815, when Schubert was only just 18; inevitably it is light compared to the G major and seems almost insignificant when placed on the same disc, all the same it is a pleasant piece and given a good reading here.

On my review of Volume 2 of this Schubert series I said that the sound was disappointing, perhaps I was being unduly harsh; both Volume 1 and 2 have a very similar sound and, provided one gets the playback level right, the sound is very fine but they do fall a little short of the quality of the sound on their Shostakovich discs to date.

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Works: 2  

Franz Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887
Franz Schubert - String Quartet No. 9 in G minor, D. 173