- String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 18
- String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111
Brahms: String Sextet, Op. 18; String Quintet, Op. 111by Verdi Quartet
It might seem odd that there's a German string quartet named after the great nineteenth century Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi. And given the name, it might seem equally odd that the group's repertoire is predominantly Austro-Germanic in orientation. But as proven in its recording of Schubert's string quartets, the Verdi Quartet lives up to its name by turning in performances that are dramatic in conception and lyrical in execution, and as demonstrated in this disc coupling Brahms' "String Sextet in B flat major" and "String Quintet in G major," this interpretive strategy can also be applied to the chamber music of Brahms. But while the group's dramatic approach works well in the opening movements of both pieces, the remaining movements are arguably less successful. Part of the problem may be that, for all of its muscle and rhythmic drive, the Verdi Quartet lacks some cohesion and tonal clarity. When they push hard at the tempos in Brahms' allegros, the results can be quite exciting. But when they push too hard in Brahms' more intimate andantes and adagios, the results can be scrappy and sometimes even sloppy. Thus, while these performances are generally acceptable, there are too many other better recordings in the catalog to make the Verdi Quartet's truly competitive. Hänssler's digital sound is warm and clean, but a tad too close for the textures to bloom.
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Performance CreditsVerdi Quartet Primary Artist
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