On this new release, The Klenke Quartett, who are well-versed in the performance of Mozart, present the Mozart’s String Quartets Nos. 1-6. The Klenke Quartett, based in Berlin and Thuringia, was founded in 1991 at the Musikhochschule Weimar. Since then, and still in its original formation, it enriches the concert life “as one of the most distinguished European ensembles.” (Gewandhausmagazin) The immediate response of the musical world to the Klenke Quartett’s performances and recordings of Mozart’s string quartets was one of acclaim and superlatives. In the view of the music magazine Rondo: “With their precise, controlled, and masterly grasp of the music, the four women of Weimar moved international critics to a storm of enthusiasm.” And Deutschland Radio exclaimed: “They are four equally talented musicians, who interact in the most marvelous, indeed, most exquisite fashion.”
The Klenke Quartett’s new 3-disc set of Mozart’s complete string quintets (with guest violist Harald Schoneweg) constitutes a welcome return for the group to the music of Mozart. This new release shows some familiar strengths: a fine ensemble sound, careful but not over-precise, with enough character to set these performances apart even from such well-known groups as the Amadeus Quartet with Cecil Aronowitz or the Guarneri Quartet with Michael Tree, both of which I find just a bit superficial. My gold standard for these great works has always been the 1973 Philips set with Arthur Grumiaux and four other very fine instrumentalists (or, as they say in the Season One Gilligan’s Island theme song: “and the rest”). Of course, this new recording comes from a completely different tradition of playing, more historically informed and without the fine Corinthian leather upholstery of earlier days, but it has the same high standard of musicianship and not-too-careful tightrope-walks between dancing joy and intense despair. The Accentus engineers provide a surprisingly big, resonant space which matches well with the big sound of these fine string players. This is a more than just an enjoyable release; it’s a profound experience.
– Music for Several Instruments