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ON 4066
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ON 4066

Schubert: String Quartet D887/Berg: String Quartet Op. 3

The Classical Shop
release date: January 2012

Originally recorded in 2010


Kuss Quartet


Siemens Villa, Berlin, Germany


Michael Leverkus

Matthew Cosgrove



Thomas Monnerjahn

Record Label



Total Time - 73:54
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String Quartet No. 15 in G D887

1 I Allegro molto moderato 21:09
2 II Andante un poco moto 11:23
3 III Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio: Allegretto - 7:38
4 IV Allegro assai 12:37



String Quartet, Op. 3

5 I Langsam 9:51
6 II Mäßige Viertel 11:16

Schubert’s late masterpiece for string quartet, his 15th and final quartet in G major D887, was composed in 1826. Although the first movement was performed at a Vienna Musikverein concert devoted to his music, he couldn’t find anyone to publish it.

It displays an almost Beethovenian profundity, and is a dramatic departure departure from the two previous song-based quartets that had proved popular. The writing is assured and the harmonies audacious. It is a dark, rather introverted work, full of passionate outbursts and drama.

Berg’s Quartet op.3 was premiered in 1911 towards the end of his studies with Schoenburg. It was badly recieved and baffled listeners and performers alike. Like the Schubert G major, it displays daring harmonies and a remarkable technical assurance.

This album is the Kuss Quartet’s debut on ONYX. They are regular performers at the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals, and also perform regularly in New York, London and their home city of Berlin.

"The opening minutes of the great G major String Quartet D887 will determine whether this disc is for you or not. The instrumental colours and textures of Schubert’s writing here have seldom been realised with such a magical attention to detail and internal balance, and the result is captivating...having listened to the first movement several times, I started to persuade myself that it was well worth sacrificing some large-scale tension in the interests of the sheer beauty of what the Kuss gives us here....despite these reservations, I know I shall return to this performance:the best of it is well worth it. Alban Berg’s early String Quartet is an admirable coupling, played with an ardour and an attention to detail that combine to produce a very absorbing performance."

International Record Review  - June 2011

"The Kuss are remarkable in the opening movement for their yearning almost pleading tones. This is genuine heart-on the sleeve playing:it feels most affecting.Here one senses an impressive accord between the players. Intense concentration is established in the moving Andante... In the (Berg) first movement Langsam, right from the opening bars, the tone of Jana Kuss’s Guadagnini (1766) violin sounds exceptional. Creative and starkly contrasted like an abstract artwork the Kuss paint an impressive canvass in sound. The steely beauty of Berg’s writing becomes a chilling experience with the temperament punctuated by considerable torment...The sound on this ONYX disc is clear and well balanced with an interesting essay in the booklet. I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating and splendidly played release."
MusicWeb - 13 June 2011

"...this Onyx release is noteworthy for a stimulating coupling and for vibrant performances, the Berg especially."

The Classical

"...The players’ engaging sensitivity, fleet-fingered command and textural sleights of hand grip the imagination; so too, their silvery clarity, particularly well suited to Schubert. In both works one’s preconceptions are constantly challenged by the quartet’s ability to rethink even the most familiar of phrases....a highly impressive coupling, well recorded..."

The Strad - May 2011

"...The playing is sensitive to a high degree with some rapturous turns of phrase..." ***

Norman Lebrecht - La Scena Musicale - 21 March 2011

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