Quartets By Beethoven, Bruckner, Etc. / Zehetmair

Album cover art for upc 028947639428
Label: ECM
Catalog: B001949602
Format: CD

Zehetmair Quartett

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 Bruckner: String Quartet in C minor, WAB111 Hartmann, K: String Quartet No. 2 Holliger: String Quartet No. 2

The Zehetmair Quartet, one of the most exciting and accomplished string quartets of our time, plays a programme of characteristically broad reach, ranging from Beethoven and Bruckner to Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Heinz Holliger. The 50th anniversary of Hartmann’s death falls in December 2013, and Holliger’s Second String Quartet is a composition written for the Zehetmair group and premiered by them in 2008. This double album begins with Beethoven’s highly-concentrated opus 135, and concludes with the “explosions of fantasy” of Holliger’s quartet, recorded on CD for the first time. Bruckner’s rarely-heard C minor Quartet is, as Thomas Zehetmair notes, both touching and warm-hearted. These three pieces - the Beethoven, Bruckner and Holliger quartets - were recorded in Zurich 2010. The String Quartet No. 2 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann - “a large-scale nostalgic drama, full of wisdom” - was recorded in 2002 by an earlier quartet line-up, and this interpretation is previously unreleased. It was the last of the Zehetmair Quartet recordings to feature cellist and founding member Françoise Groben (1965-2011). “Her energy and creativity were crucial to our development an early successes. This new production is dedicated to her memory.” The Zehetmair Quartet was founded in 1994 but did not make its first concert tour until 1998. The Quartet’s first recording - a pairing of Bartók Fourth Quartet and Hartmann’s String Quartet No 1 - was released by ECM in 2000 and won the quarterly German Record Critics’ Prize. Their celebrated 2004 album of Schumann’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3 was named Gramophone’s Record of the Year and won several other awards including the Diapason d’Or and the Edison Classical Music Award (Netherlands). A 2007 ECM release coupled quartets by Bartók and Paul Hindemith.

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