- String Quartet No 1, "Carillon"
- String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 95
It is difficult to understand why Karl Amadeus Hartmann's First Quartet has been so neglected, for it is a work of tremendous emotional force. Its musical language is sometimes complex but should pose no problems for anyone with an appreciation for Bartók's quartets. From the quiet, heartrending lament of the first movement's introduction to the sturdy exuberance of the finale, Hartmann's inspiration never falters, and one is held fast in the music's grip. Bartók's Fourth Quartet is the perfect mate, as it was an inspiration to Hartmann. The Zehetmair Quartett -- formed by the superb violinist Thomas Zehetmair -- gives a cogent, sharp-edged performance of the Bartók that deserves to stand alongside acclaimed versions by the Emerson, Takács, and Juilliard Quartets. But it is their searing performance of the Hartmann that makes this disc so exceptionally valuable.