Pavel Haas Quartet - Schubert: String Quartet No 14 "Death and the Maiden," String Quintet (2013)

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Pavel Haas Quartet - Schubert: String Quartet No 14 "Death and the Maiden," String Quintet (2013)

Pavel Haas Quartet - Schubert: String Quartet No 14 "Death and the Maiden," String Quintet (2013)
EAC Rip | Flac (Image + cue + log) | 449 MB | MP3 320Kbps CBR | 236 MB | 2 CDs | Full Scans
Genre: Classical | Label: Supraphon | Catalog Number: 4110

"The highly anticipated new recording from the Gramophone Recording of the Year winners in 2011. Two years on from their award winning Dvorak album, the Pavel Haas Quartet turn their attention to Schubert's two late masterpiece. The String Quartet in D minor has a sort of dark cipher encoded within. The title "Death and the Maiden" reflects the quotation from Schubert's eponymous song in the second movement. The theme of death is also underlined by other quotations and the choice of the key of D minor, which according to the period definition is characterised by "heavy-hearted womanliness, spleen and foreboding"."

"Reviews: The Pavel Haas Quartet, of late, has been the focus of much hype and excitement, and I was curious to know what all the fuss is about. Having lived with and listened to these CDs several times over the past week, I now know. Quite simply, not to put too fine a point on it, this recording is a sensation. I was aware when I asked to review this, that it had garnered several rave reviews, and being a lover of both chamber music and Schubert's in particular, I had great expectations. I've not been disappointed.

Founded in 2002, the quartet was named after Pavel Haas, a Czech composer and pupil of Leoš Janá?ek. Tragedy befell Haas; he spent his last days in the camp at Terezin, and died in Auschwitz in 1944. The Quartet has been the recipients of numerous awards and accolades, including the Gramophone Recording of the Year 2011 for a CD of Dvo?ák Quartets. It also has other fine recordings under its belt. There have been several personnel changes along the way before the current line-up. They have recorded all three of the Haas string quartets, pertinently coupling them with those of Janá?ek. I've already placed my order.

The pairing of these two works is a very intelligent one. Both are preoccupied with the notion of death and finality. The String Quartet in D minor, D 810 was composed in 1824, four years before Schubert's death. It is entitled Death and the Maiden; the song of the same name (D 531) provides the theme for the second movement variations. The composer had already been suffering from syphilis for two years and that same year wrote: "Each night when I go to sleep, I hope never to wake again, and each morning serves only to recall the misery of the previous day." From the first declamatory chords of the opening movement you realize that the Pavel Haas mean business. I don't think I've ever heard such a dramatic opening and you are literally kept on the edge of your seat for the rest of the movement. High-powered, passionate and thrilling are the adjectives which best describe this playing. The intense, underlying tension is contrasted with the fervent, heartfelt lyricism of the second subject. Throughout, these young players imbue the music with light and shade. It is not a cosy performance yet ensemble and intonation are faultless.

The dark theme of the second movement is haunting, funereal and filled with pathos - heartfelt and sincere. As the variations unfold, an eloquent dialogue between the individual instruments emerges. Each variation is thoughtfully nuanced and sensitively sculpted, with the players highlighting the dramatic contrasts between the variations. The third movement Scherzo is a rhythmic tour de force. The finale, marked Presto, is almost a tarantella, a dance to ward off the spider's bite and thus flee from death, with the Pavel Haas conjuring up a musical exorcism. The dotted rhythmic patterns are crisply incisive and the movement is carried off with velocity and élan.

The String Quintet in C major was composed in 1828. This was the last year of Schubert's short life and a prolifically fruitful year by any standards. During it he composed, amongst other things, the Mass in E flat, the last three Piano Sonatas, the F minor Fantasie for piano duet and this String Quintet. Benjamin Britten, no less, considered this year to be the most miraculous in the history of music. Danjulo Ishizaka is an excellent choice as second cello in the Quintet and blends into the ensemble well. Of German/Japanese origin, he was described by none other than Rostropovich as ‘phenomenal in his technical ability, perfect in his musical creative power'. He certainly brings these gifts to the performance of the Quintet.

I consider this work to be the most sublime piece of chamber music ever written, and the Pavel Haas enter a very crowded playing field, with many outstanding recordings. Some of my favourites that spring to mind are the Lindsays, the Belceas, the Alban Berg and not forgetting, the Hollywood's 1951 account.

For me, the performance here ticks all the right boxes. From the opening chords, you feel that these young players are taking you on a journey. Having a clear vision and understanding of the structure of the music, they explore its full emotional range. Warmth and expressive phrasing are a distinguishing hallmark. The second movement, the emotional core, is well-paced. There is a tranquillity, an other-worldliness and a sense of resignation in the playing. They bring out the dark and anguished character of the dramatic section. Here one becomes aware of Schubert's terror of approaching death. The Scherzo is imbued with gusto and energy, the trio, in contrast, being subdued. The finale is truly marked with a gypsy swagger.

Chamber music lovers, I am sure, will want these recordings, and I have no doubt that they will become benchmarks for these two glories of the chamber music repertoire. Recorded sound and balance is second to none; the Domovina Studio, Prague provides an ideal acoustic. Booklet notes by Vlasta Reiffererova supply the essential information. These young players are a force to be reckoned with, and the anticipation and enthusiasm they have earned with the listening public is here proved beyond doubt. "


Tracklisting:

CD1
[1]-[4] String Quartet No.14 in D minor 'Death and the Maiden', D810

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 17. March 2015, 1:27

Pavel Haas Quartet / Schubert - String Quartet No.14 'Death and the Maiden'

Used drive : HL-DT-STDVDRAM GU70N Adapter: 0 ID: 0

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Read offset correction

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Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface
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Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 128 kBit/s
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Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "Date=%year%" -T "Genre=%genre%" %source%

TOC of the extracted CD Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
--1 | 0:00.00 | 11:32.12 | 0 | 51911 2 | 11:32.12 | 13:34.18 | 51912 | 112979 3 | 25:06.30 | 3:50.16 | 112980 | 130245 4 | 28:56.46 | 8:53.26 | 130246 | 170246

Range status and errors

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AccurateRip summary

Track 1 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [D2F86B6D] (AR v2)
Track 2 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [14AEF3A0] (AR v2)
Track 3 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [82E4F294] (AR v2)
Track 4 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [D5D03FF2] (AR v2)

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CD2
[1]-[4] String Quintet in C major, D956, Op. Posth. 163

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 17. March 2015, 8:37

Pavel Haas Quartet, Danjulo Ishizaka / Schubert - String Quintet

Used drive : HL-DT-STDVDRAM GU70N Adapter: 0 ID: 0

Read mode : Secure
Utilize accurate stream : Yes
Defeat audio cache : Yes
Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction

: 48
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface
: Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 128 kBit/s
Quality : High
Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "Date=%year%" -T "Genre=%genre%" %source%

TOC of the extracted CD Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
--1 | 0:00.00 | 19:56.13 | 0 | 89712 2 | 19:56.13 | 14:43.67 | 89713 | 156004 3 | 34:40.05 | 9:39.28 | 156005 | 199457 4 | 44:19.33 | 9:31.58 | 199458 | 242340

Range status and errors

Selected range Filename C:\temp\Schubert - Death and the Maiden; String Quintet - Pavel Haas Quartet, Ishizaka\CD2 - String Quintet\Schubert - String Quintet.wav Peak level 97.4 %
Extraction speed 1.9 X
Range quality 100.0 %
Test CRC D7E1C816
Copy CRC D7E1C816
Copy OK

No errors occurred


AccurateRip summary

Track 1 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [D650301C] (AR v2)
Track 2 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [D47560BD] (AR v2)
Track 3 accurately ripped (confidence 6) [40BB47A6] (AR v2)
Track 4 accurately ripped (confidence 7) [7313383F] (AR v2)

All tracks accurately ripped

End of status report

==== Log checksum 35CB92A61EFA05423A64A5F97F63DA9BEAF6B804A9E86921483B5DD5FFA54071 ====

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Tags: Quartet, Schubert, String, Quartet, Maiden, String, Quintet

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