After having been awarded with Germany‘s prestigious Klassik ECHO award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros in 2011 for their Virgin Classics Beethoven cycle, the members of the Artemis Quartet now release an all-Schubert CD. It presents the composer’s final three string quartets: No. 13 in A minor, ‘Rosamunde’; No. 14 in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’, and No. 15 in G major. This new Schubert album joins the Artemis Quartet’s 2008 release of the composer’s String Quintet (for which cellist Truls Mørk complemented the ensemble) and Quartettsatz in C minor.
Eckart Runge, cellist of the Artemis Quartet points out that, “There is an almost terrifying modernism in these three late Schubert quartets, but it is totally different from the modernism of Beethoven. When placed together in a program, the three quartets shine in another light: No. 14 is concentrated and dramatic; No. 15 is huge, symphonic, and cosmic, and No. 13 is introspective and melancholy – less spectacular than the other two.”
A New York Times concert review evokes the discoveries that await listeners to the new CD: “Even Schubert’s ‘’Death and the Maiden’, one of the most frequently performed quartets, bristled with fresh life in the Artemis performance. Seemingly small details often made the difference, as in the second movement when the Artemis played extended portions without vibrato, bringing a striking austerity to an otherwise lush theme … [This was] daring, edge-of-the-seat playing … [characterised by] visceral energy and rich four-part imagination.”