Amar Quartett

Brun, Schoeck: Streichquartette

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Warm-hearted and deeply nostalgic, Othmar Schoeck's five-movement String Quartet No. 2 in C major is an enchanting postwar work that yearns for the prewar days of optimism, romanticism, and, most of all, tonality. In this lovingly expressive and lushly executed 2006 recording by the Amar Quartet, Schoeck's 1923 quartet may sound improbably dated to some listeners. Surely, they might say, no composer after the cataclysm of the Great War could write music of such honesty, of such sincerity, of such anything but irony. And yet here it is in the Amar's technically flawless performance, and what can any lover of the music of the fin de siècle say but "thanks?"

But can even hearing make for believing in the case of Fritz Brun's four-movement String Quartet No. 3 in F major, written in 1943 during the second Great War of the century? Could a style so beautifully polished, so lyrically straight-to-the-heart, so tonally straight-down-the-middle really have been written by anyone other than a hopeless epigone? Brun's secure, sophisticated, and thoroughly robust technique plus his categorical belief in his own music easily refutes the charge. The Amar's lovingly expressive and technically flawless performance makes the best possible case for an unfamiliar but completely compelling work. Once again, what can any lover of music of fin de siècle say but "thanks?" Migros' sound is ideally balanced and richly detailed.

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