"Make it new!', and the Engegårds certainly do that"

Mozart String Quartets

Nr 15 in D minor, Nr 16 in E flat major and Nr 19 in C major, K. 421/417b, 428/421b and 465

Engegård Quartet

Lawo Classics LWC1167 (80 minutter)

“You can’t ask for more of a performance – live or recorded – than that it pulls you in and compels you to listen, even when it’s of music you thought you knew fairly well. But these three quartets – half of the six that Mozart dedicated to Haydn in 1785 – do exactly that. The microphone placement suggests that you are sitting right in front of the four members of the Engegård Quartet, so that you are constantly aware of what any of the individual instruments is doing, as well as of the unfolding texture as a whole. Erza Pound enjoined his readers to ‘Make it new!’, and the Engegårds certainly do that: to suggest only two passages from a wealth of choices, that little chordal spiccato phrase in the third movement of the E flat major has a light-footed innocence that is simple exquisite, and the opening of the C major might qualify as the weirdest music that Mozart ever composed – it seems to reach clean over the nineteenth century and land somewhere well after Skrjabin. There’s not to complain about: the odd gasp of breath could have been excised; and it sounds as if someone had a winter cold during the recording (in December 2017) of the variations that end the D minor – there’s an occasional hint of a snort and snuffle among Mozart’s hallowed textures. A small price to pay for such fine musicianship.”

Martin Anderson, March 2019 (Klassiskmusikk.com)