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SCHUMANN: String Quartets Nos. 1-3

Composer(s):Schumann, Robert
Artist(s) Fine Arts Quartet, Ensemble
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.570151
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Following the so-called ‘Year of Song’ (1840) during which Schumann poured out almost 140 of his finest Lieder, the newly-married composer turned to weightier forms. In 1842 Schumann composed the Three String Quartets Op. 41, the Piano Quintet Op. 44 and the Piano Quartet Op. 47, a veritable ‘Year of Chamber Music’. Influenced by the late quartets of Beethoven and the quartets of Haydn and Mozart, Schumann’s string quartets are masterpieces in their own right, filled with musical inventiveness, youthful exuberance and intense poetic feeling.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Having all three of Schumann’s Opus 41 Quartets on as single Naxos disc makes a superb bargain. These fine works, notably the last and most impressive, No. 3, are the products of Schumann’s extraordinary year of chamber inspirations, 1842, which also saw the composition of the Piano Quintet and Piano Quartet. The Fine Arts Quartet, founded as long ago as 1946, remains a magnificent interpreter, here vividly recorded in sessions in Holland in 2006.

Review By Kirsty Humphrey,Stringendo,October 2008

Schumann’s string quartets show influences of Beethoven’s late quartets and the quartets of Haydn and Mozart. They are, however, masterpieces in their own right, filled with ‘musical inventiveness, youthful exuberance and intense poetic feeling’ (Keith Anderson). As one would expect from this distinguished Quartet, the quality of the performance is very fine, creating a highly enjoyable listening experience.

Review By ,Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog,December 2006

"CDs of the Year 2006: SCHUMANN The complete string quartets. Fine Arts Quartet, Naxos, 8570151. Just out! The Fine Arts Quartet was my big chamber-music revelation this year: it's that golden-age edge that I adore, the intense sweetness of first violin Ralph Evans' tone, the beauty of the close-knit sounds and the completeness of their involvement in the music - as superb as ever in Schumann's personal, subtle and sensitive quartets which, again, are never played as often as they should be." ( Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog, Dec.23, 2006)

Review By Jean-Luc Caron,,March 2007

Cette formation prestigieuse nous livre une lecture exceptionnelle de précision, d'atmosphères et de nuances...Il convient de qualifier cette lecture comme il se doit: incontournable. Full review

Review By Richard Gate,Limelight Magazine,March 2007

The three string quartets by Schumann deserve to be heard more often than they are…they contain much beautiful music. [The Fine Arts Quartet] is a fine ensemble, giving excellent performances of these quartets. Its tone throughout has just enough edge on it to be stimulating and each of the players, all of them virtuosi, is very successful in making his instrument heard—the part playing is excellent. The group avoids the dynamic excesses that plague much quartet playing today.

Review By Stephen Pettitt,Stephen Pettitt Music Services,January 2007

A great bargain. Full review

Review By Giv Cornfield, Ph. D,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,January 2007

The year 1842 was devoted by the newly-married Schumann to chamber music. Significantly, the Piano Quartet and Quintet were composed for his pianist wife Clara Wieck, and are truly inspired works. The Fine Arts Quartet made a name for itself in the 1960s and has gone through numerous personnel changes, but if the present recording is any indication, this fine ensemble continues to ride high.


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