Mozart: The "Haydn" Quartets

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Believe it or not, this set of Mozart's six string quartets dedicated to Haydn performed by the Klenke-Quartett is just about as good as the best recordings of the works ever made. Graduates of the Franz Liszt College of Music in Weimar trained by Norbert Brainin of the Amadeus Quartet, the four German women of the Klenke-Quartett play as though to the Austro-Germanic manner born. Their tone is clean and clear with an attractive edge and a compelling attack; their technique is light and supple with an appealing ensemble and a surprising strength; their interpretations know the depths of Mozart's Adagios, the delights of his Menuettos, and the heights of his Allegro vivace assai. While older listeners might choose the Budapest Quartet's more genial Mozart or the Amadeus Quartet's more objective Mozart and younger listeners might prefer the Alban Berg Quartet's more intellectual Mozart or the Hagen Quartett's more passionate Mozart, anyone coming to the Klenke-Quartett's alluring Mozart with an open mind and an open heart could not deny the attractions of their playing. The only thing the young players lack is artistic maturity -- and that will come soon enough when they tackle Beethoven, Brahms, and Berg. Hänssler's 2004 and 2005 digital recordings are crisp and full, but perhaps a tad too dry.

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