Franz Schubert

String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887 (Op. posth. 161)

    Description by Michael Morrison

    The Quartet No. 15 in G major (1826), the last of Schubert's string quartets, stands alongside the famous D minor Quartet ("Death and the Maiden") as proof that the composer was well on his way to writing large-scale works in all genres. Symphonic in organization and structure, it achieves a depth of sound that often belies the presence of only four musicians. In its scope and difficulty, it typifies Schubert's later works.

    The first movement, over twenty-three minutes in length, features a near-symphonic introduction which substantially delays the appearance of the first theme. Characterized more by rich complexity than by the composer's characteristic rhythmic drive, this theme at several points decreases dynamically to near silence, while the rhythmic motion comes to a complete stop at least twice.

    Though about half as long as the first, the second movement, Andante un poco moto, is no less richly crafted. While stylistically consistent with the previous movement, it is more lyrical and somewhat darker in character. It also makes use of the composer's distinctive "hairpin" maneuver -- complete stops after which the music resumes on a different rhythmic and dynamic plane.

    The Scherzo, less complex than the preceding movements, is marked by a previously absent rhythmic insistence. A driving motive in triplet rhythms assumes the fore until a contrasting lyrical center section intrudes. Eventually, the initial energy returns, and the movement ends aggressively.

    The finale features an alternation between two rhythmic devices: a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth, and groups of triplets. Within the symphonic scope of the quartet the finale is the grandest movement of all, powerful and complex, constantly building and changing, until drawing to a surprising close.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro molto moderato
    2. Andante un poco moto
    3. Scherzo & Trio. Allegro vivace - Allegretto
    4. Allegro assai

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Champs Hill Records CHRCD 137
    2017 Praga Digitals PRD 250386
    2017 2L 2L 135SABD
    2017 Hänssler Classic HC 17069
    2017 Ondine ODE 12932
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795982
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2016 Brilliant Classics 94468BR
    2016 Brilliant Classics 94467BR
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795545
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646019311
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646123476
    2015 Miró Quartet Media
    2014 Musica Omnia / Musica Omnia MO 0408
    2013 Sony Classical 88697553632
    2013 Nimbus / Nimbus Alliance NI 6221
    2013 Audite AUDITE 21428
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Haenssler / Haenssler Classics 94607
    2012 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099960251
    2012 Virgin Classics / Warner Classics
    2012 Harmonia Mundi HMC 902121
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94424
    2011 Onyx ONYX 4066
    2011 Newton Classics 8802089
    2011 Bridge 9363
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 NSS Music 9
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099996702
    2010 Cascavelle VEL 3115
    2009 Sony Classical 752307
    2009 Haenssler 98546
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93807
    2008 Urania 22357
    2008 Praga Digitals 250240
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 3615882
    2008 Brilliant 93673
    2007 EMI Classics 97629
    2007 Biddulph Recordings 80223
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 385853
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 361589
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Audite 92552
    2005 Brilliant 99599
    2005 Music & Arts CD1181
    2005 Naxos 8557125
    2005 Cascavelle 1042
    2005 EMI Classics 5661442
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 85526
    2004 Brilliant 92288
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon
    2004 ASV / Sanctuary 403
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000247302
    2004 Brilliant 92394
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 474730
    2003 Preiser Records 90530
    2003 Orfeo 604031
    2003 Artek 09
    2003 Supraphon 3746
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 EMI Classics
    2002 Harmonia Mundi 1951409
    2002 St. Clair 3026
    2002 Symposium 1304
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 569689
    2000 Azzurra Music 11020
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 56471
    2000 CPO 999410
    1999 Biddulph Recordings 133/34
    1999 Haenssler 98334
    1999 CPO 999660
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 459151
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 463151
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 067-2GCC10
    1998 Camerata Records 30
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459013
    1997 Biddulph Recordings LAB072-73
    1997 Denon Records 18015
    1997 Berlin Classics 0091482
    1997 London 452854
    1997 Arkadia 78502
    1997 Nimbus 1770
    1997 Nimbus NI1766
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62707
    1995 Pearl 9141
    1995 MDG 3070601
    1995 Philips 446 163-2PM2
    1994 Orfeo 317931
    1994 Nimbus 5048
    1993 ASV 661
    1993 ASV 417
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901408
    1991 CBS Records 45617
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 429224
    1988 Capitol 69795
    1987 CBS Records 42134
    RCA 60199
    Brilliant 92394/11
    Brilliant 99599/2
    Brilliant 93673/11
    Orfeo 7821
    Fone 98F18
    Erato 45484
    Supraphon 110942
    ECM 4761939
    Fono Enterprise 347
    Vox 5022
    Archiphon 107
    Brilliant Classics 93807/5
    Biddulph Recordings LAB07273