- String Quartet No. 14 in G major ("Spring"), K. 387
- String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421 (K. 417b)
Absolute perfection in playing Mozart is, almost axiomatically, unattainable, and claims of perfection may be suspected immediately as special pleading. Let it be said, then, that the Klenke-Quartett's 2004 recording of the lighthearted "String Quartet in G major, Spring, K. 387," and the dark, plangent "String Quartet in D minor, K. 421," is not absolutely perfect. However, for its astonishing clarity of textures, range and depth of expressions, spirited interpretations, fastidious execution, sparkling virtuosity, ensemble cohesion, superior intonation, and utterly crystalline sound quality, it comes ridiculously close to the ideal. Of course, some may complain that the Klenke's tone is too glossy, or that its dazzling playing masks an emotional shallowness, but these criticisms fall apart after a close hearing; when one detects the finest timbral shadings in the bowing, the subtle distinctions in repartee, and the spontaneous emotions -- particularly in K. 421 -- skepticism becomes pointless. Because this presumed first installment of Mozart's Haydn quartets is a remarkable achievement in so many ways, it would be a pity if the Klenke-Quartett stopped here and neglected to record the remaining four quartets in the set. If it does, though, and maintains this extraordinary level of quality, it will be a set to rival any other "near-perfect" set before it.