Schubert: String Quartets Nos. 14 & 9 Chiaroscuro Quartet
- Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828): String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden":
- 1String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden": I. Allegro15:01
- 2String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden": II. Andante con moto11:46
- 3String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden": III. Scherzo. Allegro molto04:22
- 4String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden": IV. Presto08:51
- String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, D. 173:
- 5String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, D. 173: I. Allegro con brio05:36
- 6String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, D. 173: II. Andantino06:07
- 7String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, D. 173: III. Menuetto. Allegro vivace03:54
- 8String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor, D. 173: IV. Allegro06:06
Info for Schubert: String Quartets Nos. 14 & 9
One of the truly iconic works in the repertoire for string quartet, Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden is named after the song which has lent its theme to the second movement. At the end of Matthias Claudius’s poem, which Schubert had set as a 20-year-old in 1817, Death cradles the Maiden in his bony embrace. And her fear, in the first verse, of encountering his tomb-cold touch is mirrored by his desire for her in the second. In Schubert’s life time, death was a constant presence in everyday life and even a young person like himself would have encountered it at close quarters – in fact, his own mother had passed away when he was only 15.
When Schubert returns to the song in 1824 and starts work on the string quartet, death has nevertheless grown even more real: in the meantime he has become acquainted with pain and disease during the bouts of the syphilis that he knows will kill him. He turns the song into a set of variations, preceding it with a ferocious Allegro, and following it with a Scherzo and a Finale that have been described as ‘the dance of the demon fiddler’ and ‘a dance with death’. The acclaimed Chiaroscuro Quartet performs the work on gut strings, which brings out the vulnerability and desperation even further. The players then let us down gently with the youthful String Quartet No. 9 in G minor, a work in which the minor key offers Schubert the opportunity to play with light and shadows, rather than full-scale drama.
Formed in 2005, the Chiaroscuro Quartet performs music of the Classical period with historical instruments and approach.
Recently the quartet played their first concert at the Edinburgh International Festival followed by their debut in Germany as part of the Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Highlights in the past took the young ensemble to London's Wigmore Hall, York Early Music Centre, The Sage Gateshead (recorded for BBC Radio 3), Auditorium du Louvre Paris, Théâtre du Jeu-de-Paume in Aix-en-Provence, Grand Théâtre de Dijon, Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon and a residency in Aldeburgh.
Following the critically acclaimed release of their first album in September 2011, the Chiaroscuro Quartet released its second recording for the French label Aparté in April 2013. The CD including Beethoven's Quartetto serioso, Mozart's Quartet K. 428 and Adagio and Fugue K. 546 received four out of four possible f in the French magazine Télérama and was given the best note for its interpretation in Germany's major magazine for chamber music Ensemble.
In the coming months the quartet will return to the BBC Radio 3 for a lunchtime concert in London and appear on stage of the Nikolaisaal Potsdam and Kunstverein Wiesloch. Concerts in the Netherlands (Concertgebouw Amsterdam), Belgium (Ghent, Handelsbeurs Concertzaal), France (Clermont-Ferrand and Pau) and Spain (Madrid and Bilbao) are scheduled for early 2014.
Since 2009 the Quartet has held a residency at Port-Royal-des-Champs dedicated to Mozart's quartets.