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Ferdinand Ries: String Quartets, Vol 2

Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777227   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schuppanzigh Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Music of great charm, played with excellent craftsmanship by a taut, fine ensemble.

Ferdinand Ries was a student of Beethoven and a prolific composer, respected during his lifetime if not lastingly famous. The string quartet was amongst his favorite genres, as he took up the form some twenty-five times in his career, although a significant number of these compositions remained unpublished. In this recording we have two fine examples, bookends of his compositional career.

The G major quartet is well crafted and makes for pleasant enough listening, rather a diluted Mendelssohn, without the latter composer’s gift for melody and rich harmonies. The Schuppanzigh deliver a well turned performance, with a warm
Read more rich tone, tight ensemble and spot on intonation.

The prize here is the latter work, of such a high quality that one wonders why the composer never had it published. It is on a par with the quartets of Schubert, and is in fact, somewhat better constructed given Schubert’s tendency to go overboard with longer forms. The substantial opening movement shifts deftly between darkness and light, opening with a rather brooding minor subject and flowing into some rollicking major mode tunefulness. Its triple meter slow movement is an elegant three part form, starting with a lovely Mozartean melody, shifting into a somewhat turbulent b-section, and then rounding off nicely with a modified return of the first material. A brief but tasty minor key minuet follows, and concludes with a rollicking finale. This is a work of considerable depth, yet it never takes itself so seriously as to lose its sunny air, this in spite of the minor key center.

Production values are typical of CPO’s high standards, but I do wish they would tighten up their program notes. German scholarly writing has always tended toward the wordy and obtuse anyway, and reading these lengthy, blow-by-blow descriptions of the music in English becomes deadly dull. I often find this label’s program booklets a dreaded chore to wade through.

The Schuppanzigh-Quartett have produced other fine recordings for CPO and this one is certainly no exception. They play with a fine sense of lyricism and panache. If you love string quartets as much as I do, you will want to add this disc to your collection, and since this is labeled as Volume two, it will most likely be worthwhile to investigate the first disc in the series as well, which Patrick Waller has reviewed.

-- Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 70 no 2 by Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schuppanzigh Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1798; Germany 
Quartet for Strings no 20 in F minor, WoO 48 by Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schuppanzigh Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1833; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 High Quality Classical Era Quartets March 3, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Volume #2 in the Schuppanzigh Quartet's developing discography of string quartets by Ferdinand Ries provides yet another example of excellent chamber music from a lesser known composer. The two quartets on this disk (#2 and #20) fall squarely in the classical quartet style established by Haydn and Mozart and then embellished by Beethoven. In the opinion of this reviewer, Ries' compositional style is similar to early Beethoven, presenting no radical departures in terms of musical structure, just solid counterpoint, agreeable thematic material, and plenty of work for all four quartet members. The Schuppanzigh Quartet must surely rank as one of Germany's finest string quartets, based on the excellence of their work on this recording. CPO's standards for audio engineering excellence are fully maintained here, and the result of all this is a ral treat for the chamber music fan. Recommended." Report Abuse
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