Mozart: String Quartets

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Perhaps second only to Bach, people tend to have their own pre-determined ideals of how Mozart should be performed and tend to defend those ideals. As such, there are few recordings of Mozart -- particularly of the string quartets -- that are universally appealing. Such is the case with this installment of the Klenke-Quartett's survey of the Mozart quartets, featuring the D major Quartets, K. 499 (the first time Mozart returned to the medium following the "Haydn" quartets), and K. 575 (the first of the set he composed for the King of Prussia, a talented, amateur cellist). Most listeners will appreciate their extreme technical proficiency, immaculate intonation, and attention to the details of the score. The group also functions well as a single unit, constantly moving in a cohesive, organic fashion. Their musical interpretations will also be generally appealing, being neither too outrageous nor too stodgy. Where some listeners may take exception is with the Klenke's sound quality, which can best be described as "glassy." There's a constant feeling of cautiousness and timidity in their sound. Even in robust, forte passages, the group never really digs into the string, instead producing a sotto voce, "over-the-fingerboard" sound that fails to universally satisfy.

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