Schumann Quartett: Chiaroscuro | Berlin Classics 0301213BC

Schumann Quartett: Chiaroscuro


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Label: Berlin Classics

Cat No: 0301213BC

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 17th May 2019



We are standing in a picture gallery of music. All around us we can hear snippets of the great works for string quartets, along with unfamiliar things to delight the ear; it is truly a music-lover’s paradise. Chiaroscuro forms the conclusion of a rather special trilogy of albums by the Schumann Quartet and at the same time marks a journey’s end.

After searching for their own roots in Landscapes and engaging with their namesake Robert Schumann in Intermezzo, the four musicians complete their trilogy with the album Chiaroscuro, which in itself represents an equally exciting journey through time and temperament. By way of Mozart’s arrangements of five selected fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier II they look left and right into very different musical rooms. There are two early pieces for string quartet by Shostakovich, Philip Glass’s “Company” string quartet, a short fugue by Felix Mendelssohn, and the Six Bagatelles op.9 by Anton Webern. The whole promenade culminates in Janáček’s last work, his Second String Quartet.

Chiaroscuro – Italian for “light and dark” – is the name of the programme. The Schumann Quartet combines works that could not be more different. It is a question of the “unity that the album forms”, perhaps not in spite of, but just because of the contrasts. And when at the very end of the album, at the very end of the whole trilogy, we hear Gershwin’s Lullaby, we cannot shake off the feeling that all this is such stuff as dreams are made of.

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