Schubert, String Quartets D. 173 / 810, Quatuor Mosaïques
(released on April 27, 2010)
Laborie (Naïve) LC06 | 65'21"
Schubert, D. 173 | D. 810
The HIP sound also plays very well in the third and fourth movements, where the greater soft side of the spectrum creates other unexpected textures. As always, one misses some of the heft of the modern strings at more forceful movements (all those fz markings, for example), especially in the first movement of D. 810, for which the really fine recent recording by the Jerusalem Quartet is better by comparison. While the quartet audibly knows D. 810 very well -- a career-long obsession for some of the players, a matter touched on in the liner essay -- D. 173 seems less familiar, judging by some minor ensemble disagreements (made worse by a sound capture that is at times too close, making possible the hushed wonder of D. 810's slow movement but also revealing all the flaws in D. 173). The slender D. 173 is a nice piece but nowhere near the achievement of D. 810. The combination of a late quartet with an early one -- if such a distinction makes any sense for a composer who died so young -- follows the formula of the quartet's "first volume" of Schubert, released over a decade ago and now not so easy to find. If a complete Schubert quartet set is a goal, it could be competitive and at the very least an interesting choice.