Amaryllis Quartett

Green: String Quartets by Robert Schumann and György Kurtág

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Green is the final item in a trilogy by Swiss-German Amaryllis Quartett; the others were entitled White and Red. The sense of the titles remains obscure (it seems to refer merely to the graphic design on the CD covers), but the structure of the programs is consistent: Romantic string quartets are paired with works of the 20th century. It seems like a version of the programs of the classical music golden age, where the inclusion of one contemporary work was obligatory, but the Amaryllis pulls it off well all around. The contemporary work, György Kurtág's Officium Breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánsky, Op. 28 (1988), is an intriguing one, consisting of a sequence of 15 miniatures -- flashes of texture almost -- that are mostly less than a minute long. The immediate inspiration of the work is probably Anton Webern (although it is not serial), but it seems to work very well with the two Schumann quartets. Schumann's quartets in turn were partially inspired by study of Beethoven's late quartets, and the episodic yet tightly knit structure of, especially, the String Quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41/3. The Amaryllis Quartett gives distinctive modern performances of the Schumann pieces, which emerge as nervous, experimental, and highly original. In all it's a performance that knits together Romantic and Modern as well as any, and the players are supported by fine intimate quartet sound from Leipzig's Genuin label. Recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
String Quartet in A minor, Op. 41/1
1 9:22
2 3:57
3 6:41
4 6:45
Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, for string quartet, Op. 28
5 0:28
6 0:31
7 0:27
8 0:39
9 0:49
10 0:16
11 0:37
12 0:37
13 0:52
14 1:26
15 2:16
16 0:32
17 0:56
18 0:49
19 1:27
String Quartet in A minor, Op. 41/3
20 7:23
21 7:02
22 9:07
23 7:25
blue highlight denotes track pick