Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Recording of Schoenberg's String Quartets Three & Four

Sometimes it seems that Arnold Schoenberg's music is talked about more than it is performed. He of course revolutionized modern music with his 12-tone composing practices, but the body of music he created transcends the merely technical and approaches the sublime.

His last two string quartets give the listener luminously brilliant examples of the composer's mature artistry. And the versions recently recorded by the Fred Sherry String Quartet (Naxos 8.557533) are quite nearly definitive.

The quartet's attention to detail and nuance, and their crisply precise yet spirited phrasings of the contrasting sections bring out the poetically expressive qualities of both works.

This release includes as a bonus a rendering of Schoenberg's "Phantasy for Violin with Piano Accompaniment," very ably performed by Rolf Schulte and Christopher Oldfather on violin and piano, respectively.

This is volume 12 of Robert Craft's Schoenberg series. It is highly recommended.

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