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In between much that is hectic in the manner of President Bush's desire to take himself to Mars (as soon as possible, please), there is the occasional moment of repose, as when in the Adagio of No 1 Schumann affectionately recalls the slow movement of Beethoven's Ninth [listen -- track 3, 0:00-1:34].

The most original movement is the 'Scherzo' of No 3, which Schumann casts as a subtle set of variations. The team does not have the measure of its wayward charm. Clara was right that here in fact was something 'new'. The Zehetmair players divert attention from the novelty by an occasional roughness that is quite out of character. These two variations show them at their worst and their best [listen -- track 6, 1:25-2:33].

Copyright © 11 February 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


Zehetmair Quartett - Robert Schumann

472 169-2 Stereo NEW RELEASE 49'32" 2003 ECM Records GmbH

The Zehetmair Quartett: Thomas Zehetmair, violin; Matthias Metzger, violin; Ruth Killius, viola; Françoise Groben, cello

Robert Schumann: String Quartet No 1 in A minor Op 41 No 1; String Quartet No 3 in A Op 41 No 3


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