Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pavel Haas Quartet plays Schubert

After 60 years of serious music listening I am hesitant about awarding three stars for musical performances. However, the Schubert CD containing the Death and the Maiden quartet, and the C major string quintet, played by the young Pavel Haas Quartet deserves three stars for the playing, three stars for the recording and (of course) three stars for the music. There is little music that is greater or more profound than the 92 minutes of Schubert on this CD; I am always amazed at the utter simplicity (and profundity) of the principal melody in the quintet's slow movement.

String quartets must be a challenge to record; too often the first violin -- or the cello -- are over-prominent. Not so here, and all praise to Supraphon. All praise as well to the Pavel Haas Quartet who play with an intensity that is riveting, as well as showing a complete empathy with the music; Schubert is not romanticised here, and we are a long way in this music -- and in the playing -- from Herr Song-Writer. Not since the Busch Quartet have I enjoyed string quartet playing so much and I await, money in hand, for the Pavel Haas to record Beethoven, Shostakovich, or more Schubert.

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