Joseph Haydn is a conscientious revolutionary. His “Sunrise” Quartet op. 76 No. 4 is littered with idiosyncrasies. Just as you are thinking you can get the hang of this music, it slips away from you again. The Schumann Quartet is hooked on Joseph Haydn! There’s a reason for this addiction, of course; without Haydn, the “string quartet” genre would be like a string instrument without a bow. True, the composer is still – somewhat disrespectfully – called “Papa Haydn”, whether to stress his place in the evolutionary chain linking Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadéus Mozart or because his works allegedly lack the inquisitiveness of a Mozart or the philosophical profundities of a Beethoven. Joseph Haydn has yet to recover from suchRead more false assessments. And it is abundantly clear from the “Sunrise” Quartet op. 76 No. 4 just how false they are. The three brothers Mark, Erik and Ken Schumann, who grew up in the Rhineland, have been playing together for five years. In 2012, violist Liisa Randalu, who was born in the Estonian capital Tallinn, and grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany, joined them. Those who experience the quartet in performance often remark on the strong connection between its members. They feel that their musical development over the past two years represents a quantum leap: “We really want to take things to extremes, to see how far the excitement and our spontaneity as a group take us.”
“Landscapes” is a journey in sound to the roots of the Schumann Quartet. Four very different works contribute their personal stories to form a magical whole.
In line with the backgrounds of the quartet’s four members (the Schumann brothers are German, of Romanian-Japanese origin) the pieces on this album come from those various parts of the world: the album is a compilation of Estonian, Japanese, Hungarian, and Austro-German works. The collection of pieces is tied together with the ribbon of “Landscapes” and is an integral part of the Schumann Quartet’s live programme. Magical associations.