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Chamber Music - Released April 4, 2014 | audite Musikproduktion

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
£14.38
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Classical - Released April 28, 2017 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Quintets - Released November 1, 2013 | audite Musikproduktion

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
£19.99

Quartets - Released April 5, 2011 | Audite

£7.99

Chamber Music - Released November 1, 2012 | Audite

£11.99

Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2013 | Audite

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Quartets - Released July 3, 2012 | Audite

The sunny Felix Mendelssohn of general concert programming is indeed occasionally in evidence on this release by Germany's Mandelring Quartet, for instance in the Canzonetta second movement of the String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 12, which could have come out of the Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. But elsewhere the album offers a very different Mendelssohn: the genius young composer who "got" Beethoven at a time when very few people really did (the booklet includes a great contemporary evaluation of the "Kreutzer" sonata as "terroristic"). And it was not just Beethoven, but the thorny late quartets of Beethoven, that Mendelssohn grappled with. The String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13, clearly shows the influence of both Beethoven's String Quartet in F major, Op. 135, and String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132; its final movement mixes elements of those two finales, while the opening movement quotes the rhythm of a line in a Mendelssohn song, giving it a motivic treatment in the manner of the opening movement of Op. 135. The slightly later String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 12, seems drawn from the Op. 132 finale, and throughout there is an attempt to replicate the odd mixture of profound artifice and low humor characteristic of late Beethoven. This was impressive for the teenage Mendelssohn, and the inclusion at the end of a student work, the String Quartet in E flat major, WoO, of 1823, fills out the picture with its mightily ambitious concluding double fugue. These works have never been terribly popular, even in Mendelssohn's second home of England, probably because they do not feed the listener's desire for lightly lyrical and hummable tunes. But they are well worth getting to know, and the Mandelring Quartet does them justice here with serious readings and fine engineering from Germany's Audite label.
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Quartets - Released November 1, 2010 | Audite

Leos Janácek did not produce string quartets until the last decades of his life, but when he finally turned to the genre, he produced works that represented an outpouring of emotion brought about largely by an unrequited, unobtainable love. The First Quartet, subtitled "Kreutzer Sonata," is based on Tolstoy's novel of marital infidelity. The Second Quartet, "Intimate Letters," is a much more brazen, obvious statement of his passionate affections for Kamila Stösslová. Both quartets are highly complex rhythmically, technically, harmonically, and motivically and incorporate Janácek's extensive study of native speech patterns and rhythms. The original version of the Second Quartet was scored for the viola d'amore, an instrument whose popularity was short-lived and intermittent. Janácek admired the rich, unique sonority of the instrument, but was eventually forced to rescore the quartet for a modern viola. This Audite album, featuring the Mandelring Quartet, includes the version for the modern viola as well as a reconstructed version that uses the viola d'amore, performed by Gunter Teuffel. This provides listeners with a rare opportunity to hear how Janácek may have envisioned his final quartet, as well as a chance to compare the unique sounds of the two instruments. In all cases, the Mandelring Quartet puts forth performances that are energetic, vigorous, and edgy. Important for any successful performance of these works, it also plays with strict rhythmic precision and clear articulation. Intonation is generally good, but sometimes gets nebulous during especially loud, complicated passages. Audite's sound is clear and detailed.
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Quartets - Released January 9, 2017 | SMOOTH CLASSICAL

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£10.79

Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
£15.99

Quartets - Released August 7, 2015 | Audite

£7.99

Quartets - Released October 28, 2014 | Audite

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Quartets - Released October 9, 2009 | Audite

Booklet
The fifth and final volume in the Mandelring Quartett's survey of the complete string quartets of Dmitry Shostakovich has the same virtues as its earlier volumes: a hard-edged tone coupled with clear-eyed interpretations recorded in "you-are-there" sound. While those qualities served them well in the composer's early and middle quartets, they come up short in these late works. There are no technical flaws beyond slight lapses in intonation, and the ensemble is tight even in the most taxing passages. But these late works demand more than a merely clear-eyed interpretation. Everything in the scores is precisely articulated and superbly balanced here, but there are qualities implicit in the music that are apparently beyond the grasp of the players, and anyone who knows these works will miss the Eleventh Quartet's fear, the Thirteenth Quartet's terror, and the Fifteenth Quartet's bone-deep dread. Delivering well-played performances is one thing, but turning in performances that make the listener tremble with existential horror is quite another. For the real thing in this repertoire, try the recordings by the Borodin Quartet, the Taneyev Quartet, or, best of all, the Beethoven Quartet.
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Quartets - Released January 30, 2009 | Audite

Booklet
In the penultimate volume of its complete cycle of the Shostakovich string quartets, the Mandelring Quartet begins tackling the dark, ominous quartets composed in the last years of Shostakovich's life. By the time Shostakovich was writing the Tenth Quartet, his health was rapidly deteriorating and he was increasingly called upon to deliver speeches and statements with which he did not often agree. This dark period in the composer's life directly translates into his music, especially his string quartets. From the seemingly innocuous beginning of the Tenth to the frenetic, insect-like tumult of the Twelfth (in which he even experimented with twelve-tone serialism) to the lyrical homage of the Fourteenth, these works offer great interpretive and technical challenges to performers. As in previous volumes, the Mandelring Quartet meets all of these challenges and continues to exceed expectations. Its playing can be quite dry and brusque, which makes it an ideal choice for the aggressive, ferocious moments in these late quartets. But they are also equally capable of producing a glass-like stillness when called for by the composer. Balance in the ensemble is superb, and every note in every instrument is far more audible than in cycles produced by other quartets. Audite's sound is clear and present; listeners using multichannel SACD sound will be treated to a performance as if they are seated in the midst of the quartet.
£7.99

Quartets - Released June 4, 2008 | Audite

Quite, quite muscular and very, very expressive, the second volume of the Mandelring Quartet's cycle of the complete quartets of Schubert puts to rest the rumor that Schubert was a wimp for once and for all. The Mandelring Quartet has a hard tone in fortes, a sharp edge on its ensemble, and a stiff point to its attacks that banishes the notion that Schubert wasn't as strong as the brawny Brahms and Beethoven. Rarely has the opening Allegro ma non troppo or the following Andante of the Rosamunde Quartet sounded as much like heroic middle-period Beethoven or burly middle-period Brahms. And, above all, rarely has Schubert sounded so vehement. The power of the sonorities of the opening Allegro con fuoco of the earlier E major comes nearly to Beethovenian violence at its climax. Whether this works depends on the listener. For some, the muscularity and expressivity of the Mandelring's playing will be convincing. For others, it might seem very well done, but perhaps more than a bit overdone. Audite's sound is warm, round, and close.