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Mon, 30 Oct 2006

Schubert – Death and the Maiden

Schubert – Death and the Maiden
Takács Quartet
Edward Dusinberre, Károly Schranz, Geraldine Walther, András Fejér
CD, Hyperion

An excellent opening presents us with a confident and passionate display of musical artistry. Precise timing gives a clean cut to the phrasing; crucial to the start of this famous work. World over this music demands technical mastery from all who play it; taking no prisoners, those whose power and demands of their instrument are not 100% should use this as a tool to draw from within.

The second movement does not shy away from the demands. The opening line seeming to last forever, the players must sing this music as if it would never end. The whole movement is like this, but Takács provide us with a breathless, yet perfectly comfortable phrase. Un-hurried in the middle section, the change of heart but not phrasing style, is portrayed beautifully. And moving towards the minor and the end of the movement, the stillness is undisturbed by the first violin, building to a triumphantly quiet end.

The ever famous ‘scherzo’ and the finale are both very clear, and well balanced. I congratulate all the players for superb performance of this quartet (14) and the earlier (13), played next on the CD. It is well worth the investment to hear this fabulous sound, one I feel perfect for Schubert. (E Walton)

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