Following the release of Beethoven String Quartets with the Amadeus Quartet, audite now presents
the second volume in this recording series featuring works by Franz Schubert.
The trademarks of the world-famous string quartet were a beautiful sound and technical perfection;
in 1975 the famous German critic Joachim Kaiser confirmed that the Amadeus Quartet
was „still the best string quartet in the world“. The ensemble’s fame had evolved, alongside many
concerts and world-wide tours, thanks to its numerous recordings on disc. Less well-known, however, is the fact
that the Amadeus Quartet also made many radio recordings. For nearly twenty years, from 1950 until 1969, the
Amadeus Quartet regularly travelled to the Berlin RIAS studios. Here, a whole host of recordings was made,
reflecting not only the quartet’s core repertoire, but also novelties – works that had previously not been performed
by the Amadeus Quartet. In the audite series The RIAS Amadeus Quartet Recordings, the majority of these
recordings are released in six thematically assembled boxed CD sets.
Alongside classical composers led by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, from the outset the music of Franz Schubert
formed a pillar of the Amadeus Quartet’s repertoire. Not only did the musicians devote themselves to the three
great quartets – the Rosamunde, Death and the Maiden and the String Quartet in G major – but they also played
some of the early quartets on a regular basis.
The Amadeus Quartet finds a particular quality for each of the quartets and thus does justice to the requirements
and the content of the music. The early quartets are not overloaded with a “big sound”, but are played
with a light and lean timbre. For the Rosamunde Quartet, the ensemble presents an interpretation characterised
by an inner calm and, at the same time, a piercing intensity. Death and the Maiden reveals precise preparation
resulting in a homogenous balance. The underlying sense of drama of the G major String Quartet, Schubert’s
final quartet, is emphasised by great contrasts. The very early radio recordings of 1950 and 1951 in particular are
characterised by impetuous turbulence and youthful exuberance, which are transformed in the later recordings
into classical balance, perfection and a beautiful tone.
These radio recordings made by the Amadeus Quartet add to, and widen, the view of the astonishing and
successful history of this ensemble.