Belcea Quartet

Schubert: Streichquartett, D 804 "Rosamunde"; Quartettsatz, D 703; Streichquartett, D 87

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In many ways, this is an admirable recording of three quartets by Schubert. England's Belcea Quartet is a fine young quartet with a cogent ensemble, cohesive tone, and capable technique. And it seems to really mean what it plays: the A minor quartet is passionately sincere, the "Quartetsatz" is furiously earnest, and the early E flat major quartet is fervently committed. EMI's sound is immediate and vivid. It seems likely, however, that the disc will be more for fans of the Belcea Quartet than for lovers of the quartets of Schubert. The Belcea's interpretations are as yet still unfocused and its arguments not quite coherent. In the slow movements, it tends to lean ever-so-slightly toward sentimentality and the fast movements often slip structurally. Nevertheless, these performances will undoubtedly satisfy the Belcea's fans and win them many more.

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