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The Legendary Amadeus Quartet


Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93807   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Roman HoffstetterFranz Joseph HaydnFranz SchubertFelix Mendelssohn,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Maybe we have become used to amazing bargains in reissues, especially where Brilliant Classics are concerned. That said, there can surely be little doubt that this must be one of their best yet. All of the Brahms Quartets, many of Schubert’s best known, and a representative selection of Haydn’s, together with a brief taste of Mendelssohn’s, and all played by one of the greatest groups of players of the last century.

The members of the Amadeus Quartet first played together in 1947 and made their London début in the following year at a concert underwritten by Imogen Holst. That concert was very well received and from then until they disbanded on the death of Peter Schidlof in 1987 they were rightly regarded as one of the
Read more foremost Quartets in the world. They made many studio and broadcast recordings, of which the present box contains a selection of those set down in their early years. The notes by Ates Orga give details of the background to some of these recordings but not to all. The most interesting are those made for the Westminster company, including Haydn’s “Seven Last Words” and the Schubert “Quartett-Satz”. Some of the others were made for HMV although the box appears to imply that all are licensed from Deutsche Grammophon. Whilst it would certainly have been interesting to know more about the origins of these recordings, what matters is their substance, and that is unfailingly worth hearing.

Although some of the recordings do show their age in terms of boxy acoustic and occasional poor balance, I had no difficulty in forgetting this very quickly to concentrate on the performances. These are consistently well rehearsed and thought through. Even where you might legitimately prefer other performance decisions to have been taken there is never any doubt about the careful consideration which obviously went into them. They are very affectionate and finely characterized performances, especially the mature Haydn Quartets where the players respond unerringly to each quick change of mood and musical character. These deserve repeated listening, and the set would be worth having for the first three discs alone, although in fact the same could be said of the other four. It may be that the very sweet tone and occasional over-dominance of Norbert Brainin, the first violinist, is somewhat old-fashioned at times, but, as I said at the start, this set must be regarded as an amazing bargain which can be recommended to anyone with the slightest interest in these composers or performers.

There are good if at times too brief notes by Ates Orga. There seems to be no consistent policy in respect of repeats, but presumably that was dictated largely by the time available on the original records. All in all, a very desirable issue which must surely be followed in due course by their superb Mozart and Beethoven recordings.

-- John Sheppard, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartets (6) for Strings, Op. 3: no 5 in F major by Roman Hoffstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1777; Germany 
Notes: This work was formerly attributed to Haydn. 
2.
Seven last words of Christ on the Cross, Op. 51/H 3 no 50-56 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
3.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 54 no 1/H 3 no 58 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
4.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 54 no 2/H 3 no 57 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
5.
Quartet for Strings in B flat major, Op. 64 no 3/H 3 no 67 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
6.
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 74 no 1/H 3 no 72 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Quartet for Strings in G minor, Op. 74 no 3/H 3 no 74 "Rider" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 77 no 1/H 3 no 81 "Lobkowitz" by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Quartet for Strings in D minor, Op. 103/H 3 no 83 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802-1803; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, D 87/Op. 125 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1813; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Quartet for Strings no 8 in B flat major, D 112/Op. 168 by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Pieces (4) for String Quartet, Op. 81: no 3, Capriccio in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
13.
Quartet for Strings no 13 in A minor, D 804/Op. 29 no 1 "Rosamunde" by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Quartet for Strings no 15 in G major, D 887/Op. 161 by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Quartet for Strings no 14 in D minor, D 810 "Death and the Maiden" by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Quartet for Strings no 12 in C minor, D 703/Op. posth "Quartettsatz" by Franz Schubert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in C minor, Op. 51 no 1 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865-1873; Austria 
18.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in A minor, Op. 51 no 2 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865-1873; Austria 
19.
Quartet for Strings no 3 in B flat major, Op. 67 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Austria 

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