Sunday, 6 August 2017

Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 in G major etc - Doric Quartet

Rating: 4/5

A bit overdone for me

I found the Doric's recording of Schubert's two great quartets Rosamunde and Death And The Maiden quite hard to take, but tried this because they are a fine quartet and I hoped this would be more to my taste.  I found it better but still had the same overall difficulties with it.

Really what I find difficult in these interpretations is what seems to me to be over-dramatic playing.  Schubert's music quite often undergoes quite wild variations of mood and key.  Just the opening of this quartet is a small example, as that warm G major chord jumps quickly, suddenly and rather disturbingly into G minor – not a conventional modulation, by any means.  The Dorics handle this pretty well, but at other times I think they overdo it badly.  The music has a lot of these striking and unexpected shifts in it which do need interpretation, but they are dramatic in themselves and to me don't need the over-emphatic hammering they sometimes get here.

This is a personal feeling, of course.  Lots of people probably won't agree, and I see that this recording has just been nominated for a Gramophone Award, so it's plainly highly regarded by people who know what they are talking about.  I have rounded 3.5 stars up to 4 because there is a lot that's good about the recording, but personally I'll be sticking to my versions by The Lindsays, the Belcea Quartet and others.

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