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Carl Nielsen: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 5, FS 11x
I. Allegro non troppo ma energico
II. Un poco adagio
III. Allegretto scherzando
IV. Finale: Allegro appassionato - Allegro molto
Carl Nielsen: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 13, FS 4
I. Allegro energico
II. Andante amoroso
III. Scherzo: Allegro molto
IV. Finale: Allegro (inquieto)
“With fine sound and reliable notes, the Naxos discs are a wonderful bargain.”
“Nielsen wrote five quartets in all between 1882 and 1919, although two exist in different versions, and the opus numbering is contradictory. This may explain why Naxos gets itself into such a pickle over the numbering of the G minor and F minor Quartets here, the second and third he composed. (The early D minor of 1882-3 remains unnumbered.) The G minor, Op 13 (FS4; 1887-8 but thoroughly rewritten in 1898) is No 1 and the F minor, Op 5 (FS11; 1890) is No 2. The front cover cites the works correctly as 'Quartets No 1, Op 13. No 2, Op 5', but the back cover has 'Quartet No 1 in F minor, Op 5 (Rev 1898)' and 'No 2 in G minor, Op 13 (1890)', managing thus to confuse both dates and numbering. Although in his notes Keith Anderson lays out the composition history quite simply, he refers only to the opus numbers, which should be consigned to oblivion and replaced by the more accurate Fog-Schousboe numbers. The performances are as clear-sighted as the labelling is a mess. As with the first volume, the Oslo are sympathetic exponents, and do not overlay any extraneous expression on the music as the disappointing Zapolski for Chandos did. Like the almost exactly contemporaneous early Sibelius quartets, there's barely a hint of the familiar, mature Nielsen in either work, but both are well crafted and beautifully written for the instruments. The Oslo seem completely at home in the style, more so than either the Kontra for BIS (who, like the Zapolski, have the benefit of topquality sound) or Danish (Kontrapunkt) Quartets, making them come alive as none of their rivals manage. The recording is, like Volume 1, a touch confined but not constricted; that aside, this disc can be unreservedly recommended.”
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