Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Editor's choice?

Schumann string quartets -
reviewed by

'I could wish indeed that the music had puzzled them more.'

Zehetmair Quartet - Robert Schumann. © 2003 ECM Records GmbH

Schumann's three string quartets were completed in summer 1842 between two significant events, the one domestic, the other political. Their child Marie cut her first tooth, and they were received at Königswart Castle by Prince Metternich, who spoke to them mainly about Donizetti (an Austrian composer after all, having been born at Bergamo). Donizetti, said Metternich, had already completed seventy-six operas; Schumann was impressed by the tone of Metternich's voice and felt hypnotised by 'the halo that hovers over so celebrated a head'.

On 12 September the Schumanns celebrated their second wedding anniversary, and the next day he presented her with the completed quartets and had them performed that evening. She was enchanted: 'I cannot say anything about the quartets except that they delighted me in even the finest detail. Everything there is new, along with being clear, well worked out, and always appropriate for a quartet.' She felt he deserved a thousand kisses.

Continue >>

Copyright © 11 February 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       David Sherr >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.