(featuring the Brodsky String Quartet : Michael Thomas & Ian Belton - violins ; Paul Cassidy - viola ; Jacqueline Thomas - cello)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was not only one of the most prolific composers, but a composer who put lovely, easy-going nature and charm, into his teenage and early-twenties works, more than any of his eighteenth or nineteenth century contemporaries. Roughly from the age of twenty-three, however, he started to change his approach : He began to become more concerned with the more intellectually demanding side of sonata form and began to organise his material with a much greater sense of discipline.
The A minor String Quartet D 804, which dates from approximately 1824, is an excellent example of Schubert's later, more intellectual approach.
String Quartet No.13 in A minor Op.29 D 804, by Schubert (c1824 ; 34:48) :-
1) I Allegro ma non troppo 2) II Andante 3) III Menuetto. Allegretto 4) IV Allegro moderato
The first thing to say, about Ludwig van Beethoven's "Harp" Quartet, is that it does not contain the instrument! Like the previous work by Schubert, it is for the 'classic string quartet', of two violins, viola and cello, and was composed in 1809, immediately after the "Emperor" piano concerto.
With an atmospheric Poco Adagio-Allegro first movement ; followed by an expressive Adagio ma non troppo ; then a Presto scherzo with great rhythmic drive ; and finally an elegant Finale with six variations : It is easy to understand why the critic William McNaught wrote that, "It may help to characterise some aspects of classical style to put it that Beethoven wrote the best music for string quartet, and that Mozart's was the best string quartet writing".
String Quartet No.10 in E flat Op.74 "Harp", by Beethoven (1809 ; 34:10) :-
5) I Poco Adagio-Allegro 6) II Adagio ma non troppo 7) III Presto-Piu presto quasi prestissimo 8) IV Allegretto con Variazoni
The CD is in EX condition.