The highly anticipated new recording from the Gramophone Recording of the Year winners in 2011.
Two years on from their award winning Dvorak album, the Pavel Haas Quartet turn their attention to Schubert’s two late masterpiece.
The String Quartet in D minor has a sort of dark cipher encoded within. The title “Death and the Maiden” reflects the quotation from Schubert’s eponymous song in the second movement. The theme of death is also underlined by other quotations and the choice of the key of D minor, which according to the period definition is characterised by “heavy-hearted womanliness, spleen and foreboding”.
Schubert completed his String Quintet in C major for an uncommon formation with two cellos a mere two months before his death. Its instrumentation occasionally gives an almost orchestral impression, with the cello playing a significant role as the bearer of melody.
The Pavel Haas Quartet invited along a distinguished friend to the recording sessions, the exceptional German-Japanese cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, whose qualities were concisely described by Mstislav Rostropovich: “Phenomenal in his technical ability, perfect in his musical creative power”.
“Throughout, their understanding of the musical argument is exemplary...at every stage the performers respond with both passion and a clear feeling for musical line...In truth, there are so many details that delight the ear it would be almost impossible to list the all” BBC Music Magazine
Franz Schubert: String Quartet No.14 in D Minor "Death and the Maiden"
II. Andante con motto
III. Scherzo - Allegro molto
Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C Major
I. Allegro, ma non troppo
III. Scherzo. Presto - Trio. Andante sostenuto
15th September 2013
“This album is scalding to the touch. [the Haas's accounts] are irresistible not only for immaculate surfaces, but for effortless engagement of that grief-stricken quality beneath Schubert’s shows of gaiety and even his most serene assurances.”
21st September 2013
“If CDs had grooves I would already have worn out these marvellous recordings...The young Czechs have the perfect fusion of virtuosity and profundity.”
Christmas Issue 2013
“The Pavel Haas Quartet, with the superb extra cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, even succeed where most other ensembles fail, making the last movement of the String Quintet into something that seems a fitting conclusion to a work whose first three movements are unquestionably supreme...essential listening for anyone who loves Schubert.”
14th December 2013
“The perfect fusion of virtuosity and profundity from the young Czechs of the Pavel Haas Quartet in Schubert. Death and the Maiden is given the more melodramatic reading, but the subtly nuanced performance of the Quintet in C is sublime.”
“For me, the performance here ticks all the right boxes. From the opening chords, you feel that these young players are taking you on a journey. Having a clear vision and understanding of the structure of the music, they explore its full emotional range. Warmth and expressive phrasing are a distinguishing hallmark...These young players are a force to be reckoned with”
23rd December 2013
“we’re treated here to performances of not only great refinement and polish, but also real emotional depth...A combination of subtle elasticity of tempo whilst never slowing too much gives this performance [of Death and the Maiden] great structural coherency from beginning to end.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.