Prism V: Beethoven, Webern, Bach

Prism V: Beethoven, Webern, Bach

by Danish String Quartet
Prism V: Beethoven, Webern, Bach

Prism V: Beethoven, Webern, Bach

by Danish String Quartet

CD

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Overview

The Danish String Quartet's Prism V is the last in a series of "Prism" releases, each presenting one of Beethoven's five late string quartets, prefaced by a Bach work that could have been a source for some of Beethoven's thematic material, and followed by a more contemporary work. The idea is a promising one, for Beethoven indisputably made a deep study of Bachian counterpoint in his later years, and several releases in the series have been revelatory. The finale seems to offer an attractive symmetry; the opening Bach work is the Chorale Prelude, BWV 668 ("Vor deinem Thron tret' ich"), which was published with The Art of Fugue and was Bach's last completed composition, and the program proceeds with Beethoven's String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, Beethoven's final full piece. The thematic links in this case are a bit hazier than on the other albums, and making the Beethoven quartet sound Bach-inspired takes quite a bit of effort on the players' parts; the rough humor of the work is shoved to the background. This said, the performance of the Beethoven quartet itself is up to the Danish Quartet's usual very high standard; it is an unorthodox but absorbing reading with great control and detail. Anton Webern's youthful and ultra-Romantic String Quartet of 1905, not often heard, is another attraction here. The program ends with the unfinished final fugue of Bach's The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, breaking off in mid-measure as if to suggest that there is more on the way from this superb group. Admirers of the Danish String Quartet's series will be satisfied with this release, and indeed, they put it on classical best-seller charts in the spring of 2023. ~ James Manheim

Product Details

Release Date: 05/19/2023
Label: Ecm New Series
UPC: 0028948584697
Rank: 110598

Tracks

  1. Chorale prelude, Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit, BWV 668
  2. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135~Allegretto
  3. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135~Vivace
  4. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135~Assai lento, cantante e tranquillo
  5. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135~Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß: Grave, ma non troppo tratto - Allegro
  6. String Quartet
  7. The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080~Contrapunctus XIV 'Fuga a 3 Soggetti'

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