Germany's Minguet Quartett -- violinists Ulrich Isfort and Annette Reisinger, violist Aroa Sorin, and cellist Matthias Diener -- divides its performances and recordings between Romantic (and occasionally Classical-period) and contemporary repertory. The quartet's recording career has intersected with boutique, sonically sophisticated German labels.
The Minguet Quartett (or Quartet) was founded in 1988. The quartet's name comes from that of the Spanish composer, musicologist, engraver, and musical philosopher Pablo Minguet y Yrol, an intriguing figure who advocated the diffusion of the fine arts broadly across society. Perhaps ironically, many of the quartet's activities have focused on difficult music that has generally been the province of specialists. It has commissioned and premiered a variety of new works in the 21st century. A noted project in which the quartet participated was a realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Helikopter-Streichquartett (Helicopter Quartet) by conductor Kent Nagano. By the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Minguet Quartett was making appearances at top venues in Germany and beyond, including the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and the Library of Congress in Washington, among others. Frequently guests at German festivals, including the Mozartfest Würzburg and the Beethovenfest in Bonn, the quartet has toured continental Europe, Britain, North and South America, and Japan. Its collaborators include mezzo-soprano Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, clarinetists Matthias Schorn and Thorsten Johanns, pianists Michael Korstick and Matthias Kirschnereit, and bandoneonist Victor Villena, among others.
Particularly notable has been the depth of the group's recording catalog, which began in 1996 with a recording of the quartets of Othmar Schoeck on the audiophile MDG label and has strongly favored German composers. It has made the first complete recordings of the string quartets of Jörg Widmann, Peter Ruzicka, and Wolfgang Rihm. The group has also made complete recordings of the quartets of Josef Suk and the romantic rival of Brahms, Heinrich von Herzogenberg. The Minguet Quartett has recorded for the Col Legno label (the home of its Rihm cycle), as well as for CPO, Neos, Wergo, and others. The group released an album of Mendelssohn quartets on CPO, including the youthful quartet of 1823, in 2018 and also made a complete recording of the quartets of Robert Fuchs that year. In 2021, the Minguet Quartett returned on the ECM label as part of the multi-ensemble work Anájikon by Konstantia Gourzi. The group plans for a future recording of Glenn Gould's rarely played String Quartet in F minor, Op. 1.
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