Sarastro Quartett

Felix Weingartner: String Quartets, Vol. 1

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After releasing five discs devoted to his orchestral music, CPO here begins what promises to be a complete collection of the string quartets of Felix Weingartner. Best remembered as one of the great German conductors of the first half of the twentieth century, Weingartner turns out to have been a prolific composer of mediocre music, most of it heavily indebted to earlier, better composers. In this coupling by the Sarastro Quartet, Weingartner proves he could mix progressions swiped from Schubert with themes stolen from Beethoven in his String Quartet No. 1 and harmonies purloined from Dvorák and textures borrowed from Brahms in his String Quartet No. 3 and still come up with works that sound nowhere near as interesting or inspired as their models. The Sarastro Quartet gives the music more than it is due, with stylish and dedicated performances that have been recorded in clear, cool digital sound by CPO. Listeners looking for great fin de siècle central European chamber music are advised to look elsewhere.

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