Quatuor Van Kuijk writes of their new release: “When we approach a composer, we like to immerse ourselves in his or her early works, in order to understand the evolution of the person behind the score. It was quite naturally that the idea emerged of coupling a youthful quartet, no.10, composed at the age of sixteen, with a masterpiece by the mature Schubert, the “Death and the Maiden” Quartet no.14. As in the case of Mozart on our first recording, we wanted to present two different atmospheres with two quartets by the same composer. This journey through time sheds a new light on the later works, because the process of getting to know the young Franz Schubert naturally means deepening our knowledge of his language, but also allows us toRead more refine our appropriation of the style, sound and articulation specific to him. In Quartet no.10, we tried to achieve purity in our playing, a crystalline sound that allows the music to unfold in the most fluid and natural way, keeping in mind the intimacy of the family living room for which these pages were written. In no.14, more tormented, brusquer, more intense, we attempt to pay homage to the work’s symphonic dimension, and to its most sombre, most violent asperities. Two sides to one man: the bright and dark faces of Schubert.” Quatuor Van Kuijk
The surface finish of these performances is astonishing. Their unanimity, tonal blend, and intonation are close to flawless, and they play with a fearlessness that can sometimes come across as audacity.
The quartet does on occasion disregard dynamic markings and gradations, and they also have a tendency to pounce on a sudden forte, holding back before they leap, to the point that it becomes a distracting affectation.
Yet, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Quatuor Van Kuijk are a brilliant young ensemble of enormous promise.