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Franz Schubert

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


My Classical Notes

March 17

Tetzlaff Quartet Plays Schubert and Haydn

My Classical NotesThere is no better way to experience intimacy in music than through the magic of string quartets. I experienced this myself as an amateur violinist many years ago when I organized a trio, and later when I was invited to participate in performing quartets. This recording presents the fine players of the Tetzlaff Quartet in their performance of the following: Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 20 No. 3 in G minor Schubert: String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D887 In this new recording the prestigious Tetzlaff Quartett (Christian Tetzlaff, Elisabeth Kufferath, Hanna Weinmeister and Tanja Tetzlaff) present a program of String Quartets by Franz Schubert and Joseph Haydn in exemplary performances. Praised by The New York Times for its “dramatic, energetic playing of clean intensity”, the Tetzlaff Quartett is one of today’s leading string quartets. Alongside their successful individual careers, Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Hanna Weinmeister and Elisabeth Kufferath have met since 1994 to perform several times each season in concerts that regularly receive great critical acclaim. Here Is Christian Tetzlaff with members of the Berlin Philharmonic performing the Schubert Octet:

Guardian

March 20

Schubert Ensemble review – Charlotte Bray premiere is an icy, arresting aural landscape

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon A new piano quartet – Zustände – based on Greenland’s varied forms of ice, stirred both conscience and senses, performed with gusto by the Schubert Ensemble Charlotte Bray’s new piano quartet for the Schubert Ensemble was inspired by a visit to Greenland, with three starkly beautiful photographs of an icy world suggesting the work’s three-movement form. Zustände, meaning states, deals with different forms of ice: an iceberg, the breaking edge of glacier, an expanse of ice-field. Its opening set out a chill aural landscape, with Bray’s attention to effects – tremolando, pizzicato and wood of bow on strings – making the ear focus on detail and the way sounds hovered in clear air. Continue reading...




Classical iconoclast

March 20

Brahms German Requiem Fabio Luisi Barbican

Fabio Luisi conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in Brahms A German Requiem op 45 and Schubert, Symphony no 8 in B minor D759 ("Unfinished").  The Barbican Centre is built over the remains of a much older London, which still exists in hidden corners.  During the week, the metropolis is manic, but on a Sunday night, a quiet calm descends, and once more you can feel the presence of the past amid the high tech towers and traffic.  Under the Barbican Hall itself, was a cemetery where my companion's ancestors were interred.  An atmospheric way in which to experience Brahms German Requiem, which commemorates the endurance of the human spirit across boundaries of time and place.  Not for nothing did Brahms blend together verses from the Old and New Testaments, evidence of an upbringing steeped in North German Lutheran tradition, even though he rejected conventional piety, and lived much of his life in staunchly Catholic Vienna. .  The voices of the London Symphony Chorus rose beautifully from the hushed opening chords. "Selig sind, die da Lied tragen", for those who go forth weeping bearing precious seed will return  "Mit Freuden und bringen ihre Garben". Death is a not an end, but a process.   With Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director of the LSO,  Londoners get another advantage : Simon Halsey,  Rattle's  choral counterpart through the years at Birmingham and in Berlin. The LSO Chorus sounded luminous, voices carefully blended.  If anything, the LSO Chorus sounded even richer in the second movement Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras though this brought the orchestra to the fore. The "march" theme  was particularly well defined, with a good sense of surge underlying the solemn, deliberate pace, so when the lyrical motif appeared, it suggested light and hope. The fanfare at the end of the movement was  understated but confident. Simon Keenlyside sang the baritone part, which he has taken many times before. Experience showed.  Brahms quotes Psalm 9 (verses 4 to 7), where a man contemplates his fate : humility is of the essence, surrounded as he is by the tumult in the orchestra.  Yet the assured, unforced timbre of Keenlyside's singing highlighted the inner strength that comes from faith, whatever the source of that faith.  When the chorus joined in, the protagonist was no longer alone, in every sense.  Perhaps for this reason the song with soprano (Julia Kleiter) Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit was added, for it is a moment of illumination, before the mood turns sombre yet again.  The solemn processional of the second movement echoes in the sixth.  Forceful chords from the orchestra, and a blazing fanfare of brass, strings and percussion, and the chorus in full swell , for momentous changes are to come.  The trumpets rang out, as in the Book of Revelation, a trumpet will herald the End of Time, when the dead of past ages will be raised to life again. Keenlyside's voice rang out "Wir werden verwandelt werden" and the chorus entered,  forcefully "Hölle, wo ist dein Sieg!"  A thunderous finale, after which it took some moments to recover. Fabio Luisi and the London Symphony Orchestra were impressive, and their Schubert Symphony no 8 was excellent, well poised and stylish.   But the full honours went to the London Symphony Chorus, for Brahms's German Requiem is one of the high points in the choral repertoire.  "Selig sind die Toten.....daß sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit".  Rich, fulsome playing from the LSO, luminous singing from the LSO Chorus.  The German Requiem concluded in transcendance. . This review will also appear in Opera Today



Franz Schubert
(1797 – 1828)

Franz Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer. Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous "Unfinished Symphony"), liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. Appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited, but interest in Schubert's work increased dramatically in the decades following his death at the age of 31. Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, among others, discovered and championed his works in the 19th Century. Today, Schubert is admired as one of the leading exponents of the early Romantic era in music and he remains one of the most frequently performed composers.



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