La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Der Tod und das Mädchen

Jerusalem Quartet (Alexander Pavlovsky, Sergei Bresler, violin; Amichai Grosz, viola; Kyril Zlotnikov, cello)
Harmonia mundi HMU901990 (51 min 55 s)
The Jerusalem Quartet has revived two Schubert classics, the String Quartet No. 12 in C minor, D. 703, “Quartettsatz” and String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D. 810, “Der Tod und das Madchen” (“Death and the Maiden”). Now standard string quartet repertoire, “das Mädchen” was adapted from the piano portion of an 1817 lied of the same name. “Quartettsatz” was written in 1820 as the first movement to Schubert’s unfinished Twelfth String Quartet. The Quartet approaches both pieces with vigor, making this performance one of the quickest recorded: 8 min 57 s. While the speed never diminishes, the action eventually cools in the dreamy pianissimo section, then builds to close the piece with intensity. The opening to “das Mädchen” provides the sweetest moment of the album. Kyril’s Zlotnikov’s cello makes a strong spine for the viola and violins. He performs the bass rhythm with bold, lyrical bowing, driving the entire movement with strong technique.

- Andrew Buziak

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