Busch Quartet -《舒伯特：“死神与少女”及第15号弦乐四重奏》(Schubert: String Quartets #14 'Death and the Maiden' & #15)1936[FLAC]
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Although these quartets have been recorded many times, the Busch Quartet readings set a standard in their musicality and passion. Schubert's late quartets are tragic and death-haunted. The Busch Quartet performance is angular and anguished with none of the prettiness that is sometimes associated with Schubert. The 1930s sound is thin by modern standards but entirely adequate to convey the power of the Busch Quartet's performance and of Schubert's music.
The "Death and the Maiden" quartet was a landmark for Schubert. It was written after the composer had recovered from an illness while learning that he suffered from tertiary syphillis. Schubert was forced to come to terms with his own impending death. Many listeners find a that this quartet bears a programmatic, personal interpretation. In his study, "Franz Schubert and the Mysterium Magnum", Franz Schubert and the Mysterium Magnum Frank Ruppert writes of the "Death and the Maiden" quartet:
"The terror of death must be mastered. The creation of the sublime disposition in the face of this terror is the wanderer's challenge here. It will remain a challenge througout the composer's remaining years, one that he faces in work after work. Here as always the wanderer comes to terms with death, and thereby discovers the key to life."
The centerpiece of this quartet is the second movement in which Schubert writes a series of hauntingly intense variations on the short song called "Death and the Maiden" he had composed in 1817. The Busch Quartet omits Schubert's repeats, based on the limitations in recording capacity of the day, but the quartet captures poignantly the tragedy of this movement. The Busch Quartet also convey's the anguished opening movement, more relaxed Scherzo and trio, and the whirlwind and resolute finale of Schubert's score. This quartet offers a sense of the inevitability and awfulness of death together with the power of the human spirit to persevere and triumph in its face.
Many critics have found that the Busch Quartet's reading of G major quartet, Schubert's final composition in the form, has never been surpassed. The quartet is a longer more difficult work with similar themes to those of the "Death and the Maiden" quartet. The quartet remained unpublished until 1851. The G major is a work of many different and shifting moods with an underlying unity in its four movements. The lengthy tension-building tremolo figure which opens the quartet sets the stage for the entire work. The long first movement is harmonically ambiguous as its several themes move between the major and the minor keys. The overall mood is of impending death. The slow movement of this work also includes a great deal of tremolo and is deeply sad and tragic character. The third movement again is in the nature of an interlude with a lighter, almost elfin scherzo. The quartet concludes with a fierce tarantella-like dance which again seems ambiguous in its key and in its form, moving between a rondo and a sonata. As does "Death and the Maiden" the G major quartet in a less programmatic way suggests human power to live and triumph in the face of death.
The current reissue of the Busch Quartet's 1930s recordings dates from 2006, and it is deservedly part of the EMI classics series of "Great Recordings of the Century." This is a classic reading of Schubert's great quartets which will be treasured by any listener with an interest in chamber music.
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D.810, "Death and the Maiden"
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Andante con moto
3. III. Scherzo (Allegro molto) & Trio
4. IV. Presto
String Quartet No. 15 in G major D.887
5. I. Allegro molto moderato
6. II. Andante un poco moto
7. III. Scherzo (Allegro vivace) & Trio (Allegretto)
8. IV. Allegro assai