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Best Recordings of 2013 (#4)

High time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2013. My lists for the previous years: 2012, 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.

# 4 - New Release

Othmar Schoeck, Notturno, (+ F. Schreker, Der Wind for Strings-Winds-Piano Quintet), Stephan Genz (baritone), Leipzig String Quartet, m|DG 3071815

available at Amazon
Notturno et al.
S.Genz / Leipzig SQ4t

I adore Christian Gerhaher’s art, and especiallyso in his cherished song cycle for baritone and string quartet, Notturno. But it takes five musicians to make Notturno work, and on the ECM recording he is let down by the then already disintegrating Rosamunde Quartet. Enter Stephan Genz, whom the tremendous Leipzig String Quartet carries on romantic wings to the most wonderful recording of the cycle set to nine poems by Nikolaus Lenau and Gottfried Keller yet. The foursome drinks in the romantic language behind the atonality of Othmar Schoeck’s darkest piece as if it were rich hot chocolate. Like Genz, they treat the chromatic, incredibly long, intertwined lines, with the utmost precision and tenderness, turning a rasping and prickly work into masterful seduction.

# 4 – Reissue

Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart, Complete String Quintets, Talich Quartet, La Dolce Volta 109

available at Amazon
String Quintets
Talich Quartet
La Dolce Volta

The Talich Quartet’s Mozart Viola Quintets should have been on the 2012 list, technically, but I missed them then and it is imperative that they be on some “Best of” list. Ten years older than the Mendelssohn recordings mentioned previously (or below), and technically an entirely different quartet with violinists Petr Messiereur and Jan Kvapil, Jan Talich Sr., viola, and Evzen Rattay, cello (Karel Rehak is the second viola), they’re a little more old-world still, with occasionally lingering wistfulness between the notes. But still, they sound surprisingly similar to the younger incarnation. In light of Mozart’s sublime chamber music output it’s almost unseemly to speak of the Viola Quintets as the best of the lot, but aren’t they just? Not content with dazzling beauty and prettiness, the Talich Quartet explores emotional extremes not just in the dark and gorgeously desperate K516, but the last two Quintets, also. Perhaps the Mozart recordings I am most likely to reach for, when in a generous mood or need thereof. 

-> Best Recordings of 2013 #10
-> Best Recordings of 2013 #9
-> Best Recordings of 2013 #8
-> Best Recordings of 2013 #7
-> Best Recordings of 2013 #6
-> Best Recordings of 2013 #5