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The Doric Quartet adds imagination and care to these fantastic pieces of music.
Repertoire: String Quartets Nos. 1-3
Artist: Doric Quartet
Label: Chandos Chan10692
The Music: Schumann’s three string quartets were all produced within a matter of months in 1842 – the composer used to devote himself more or less to one genre at a go and would explore its every nook and cranny before moving on. These lyrical works, filled with élan and nervous energy, have never quite achieved the celebrity of his Piano Quintet – but they are slivers of genius.
The Performance: The starry young Doric Quartet delves into Schumann’s fantastical worlds in a performance rich in both imagination and care. Applying a generally delicate approach, with thin vibrato expressively aided by the use of well-judged portamentos, they draw out a wealth of nuances. The mood of intimacy, half-lights and many-shaded moods is enhanced by their efforts to find a ‘period’ style appropriate to Schumann and his whirlwind imagination. At times the strength of this characterisation sails dangerously close to mannerism, but in the end it stays the right side of it, emerging as affecting rather than affected, and leaving an impression that lingers long after the disc is over.
The Verdict: A very personal take on the Schumann quartets from this highly gifted British ensemble, adding to its already impressive track record on the chamber music scene.
Want More? Try the Doric Quartet’s recording of William Walton’s all-too-rare string quartets, also for Chandos (Chan 10661).