Janacek * Schubert: Janacek String Quartet No 1, 'The Kreutzer Sonata' Schubert String Quartet No 14, 'Death and the Maiden', D810

By Warrack, John | Gramophone, October 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Janacek * Schubert: Janacek String Quartet No 1, 'The Kreutzer Sonata' Schubert String Quartet No 14, 'Death and the Maiden', D810


Warrack, John, Gramophone


Janacek * Schubert

Janacek String Quartet No 1, 'The Kreutzer

Sonata' Schubert String Quartet No 14, 'Death and the Maiden', D810

Debussy Quartet

Evidence (F) EVCD001 (57' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There seems little to link Schubert's quartet with Janacek's except responses to death. In the Schubert, the players shadow the music with anxiety, driving hard at the insistent rhythms. They hold back effectively, with grey tone and absence of expressive phrasing, as towards the end of the first movement Schubert breaks in with one of the morbid interruptions that mark his late music; and when this is thrust aside, they end on a note of wistfulness and gentleness. In the Scherzo they reserve their most expressive playing for the Trio, elegiac in tone by contrast with the the merciless rhythms of the rest. They resist the suggestion of some commentators that the finale is Schubert's dance of death; the pace is lively, the mood almost one of acceptance. …

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