Grieg/Schumann: Steichquartette Op. 27/Op. 41 (CD)

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Petersen Quartett

"Since Grieg owed much to Schumann, coupling their quartets seems a good idea. These G minor and A minor Quartets were written when the composers were in their thirties, although Grieg was a few years older. Yet it's his work that sounds more youthfully passionate, while the Schumann is a rather self-conscious homage to his friend Mendelssohn and classical models.
The Petersens invest the Grieg G minor Quartet with gravitas and are skilful in linking the disparate sections of its structure. Their recording has a natural balance and an impressively wide dynamic rang; it also copes well with Grieg's forceful, semi-orchestral string writing. The whole performance has vigour and tenderness in good proportion, and a truly Scandinavian feeling. The unfinished F major Quartet is another sensitive performance and the work sounds no more incomplete than Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. The Schumann is no less enjoyable; the artists are fully inside his idiom and make a consistently beautiful and meaningful sound. The Shanghai Quartet's brightly lit account of the Mendelssohn suggests a rich store of interpretative potential. Theirs is a sizzling, multi-coloured performance. The Grieg coupling is, if anything, even finer, with an Allegro molto first movement that truly is ed agitato, a warming Romanze and a superbly characterised Intermezzo. It's richly recorded.

- Gramophone Classical Music Guide

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Grieg: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27

Grieg: String Quartet No. 2 in F major

Schumann: String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1