Schumann The String Quartets
New CD due for release on BIS Records July 2018
String Quartet in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1
String Quartet in F major, Op. 41 No. 2
String Quartet in A major, Op. 41 No. 3
The three string quartets comprising op. 41 were written in just a few weeks in a ‘veritable creative frenzy’ in 1842 in what is known as Schumann’s ‘chamber music year’.
Schumann gave the three quartets to Clara for her 23rd birthday on 13th September 1842. In the couple’s shared diary she noted: ‘The gift of his three quartets – which he arranged to be performed for me... that very evening... – brought me the greatest joy. About the quartets, all I can say is that they delighted me to the utmost. Everything in them is new, clear, expertly worked out and always idiomatic.’ The fact that Schumann wrote no more string quartets does not indicate that he was dissatisfied with them: in 1847 he wrote to his publisher Härtel that he still regarded the quartets ‘as my best work from earlier times’. And posterity has unanimously shared the view of the eminent Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick that the three Op. 41 quartets ‘are among the all-time jewels of chamber music’.
Horst A Scholtz 2018
The CD will be available for purchase on the BIS Records online store from 10th July 2018.