The Amati String Quartet plays Franz Schubert: String Quartet in D Minor D. 810 "The Death And The Maiden" and Leos Janácek: String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters". A concert recording from the layical refectory at the medieval Maulbronn Monastery by K&K Verlagsanstalt Germany. CD Audo, 63 minutes, DDD, KuK 66, ISBN 978-3-930643-66-0, EAN 42 6000591 006 3. Recorded, mastered and designed by Josef-Stefan Kindler and Andreas Otto Grimminger.
Daa da-da-da dam... Smile, accuse me of being euphoric, but even after listening to so many concerts, this particular recording is one of the most moving moments that I have ever been privileged to witness at the Maulbronn Monastery. A breathless, tangible thrill from the first touch of the bow to the very last note. What really makes this recording dramatic is the way the composers complement each other perfectly. These compositions by Schubert and Janácek are some of the most beautiful in the entire quartet literature, and the ambience of the Maulbronn Monastery lends a rare prosaic expressiveness to this interpretation. The sheer class of the Amati String Quartet is shown in the way the recording captures not just the artistic perfection of their performance, but the atmosphere of the hall as well indeed, the artists become totally carried away and create a work of art so moving that it literally and audibly- takes the audience’s breath away. (Josef-Stefan Kindler, anno 2006).
Der Tod und das Mädchen ("Death and the Maiden") by Franz Schubert gives us dramatic, passionate elation paired with an alarmingly serene wisdom. It was composed during Schubert’s late phase (1826-28), which also includes such works as the song-cycle Winterreise ("A Winter’s Journey"). Schubert’s dance of death, based on the poem by Matthius Claudius poem, inspires few clear moments of comfort and confidence, and then only in a major key variation and in the Trio. There is nothing programmatic about it, even though the listener is granted considerable insight into Schubert’s frame of mind in his later years.
Intimate Letters by Leos Janácek, the Moravian composer, is one of the most unconventional pieces of chamber music written in the early 20th century. It is consistently free of centuries-old composition techniques and the classical forms of the string quartet. The work speaks to us in the language of our century and also has a personal slant to it: it is impulsively turbulent and, at the same time, lyrically transfigured. It was inspired by the composer’s subjective experience of a love relationship and imparts a deep world of emotions that can never be expressed in words...
The Amati String Quartet came into being in 1981 and was shortly afterwards awarded the Evian "Premier Grand Prix du Concours International" and the Art Prize of the City of Zürich, as well as first prize at the Karl Klingler Competition in Munich. Their CD recordings of the Schostakowitch Quartets 3 & 7 and Szymanovski’s Op. 56 and Ravel received the German Record Critics’ Award. The recording of the Haydn String Quartets, Op. 50 won them the French award “Choc du monde de la musique”. In recent years, the Amati Quartet has chalked up one success after another, with performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the Kölner Philharmonie, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Willi Zimmermann & Katrzyna Nawrotek ~ Violin, Nicolas Corti ~ Viola, Claudius Herrmann ~ Cello.
"...one of the most amazing concerts I ever attended."
(Sir Yehudi Menuhin)
"A Interpretation, unheard since the best times of the Juillard-Quartett."
"Since the early 50s (Juillard-Quartett) it was'nt possible to listen to such a recording of the Bartók-string-quartetts. This is the best recording of the Bartók-quartetts at all."
(In Tune, Japan/USA)
...according to this statements, it's a clear consequence that the Amati-quartett received up to now two times the "Deutscher Schallplattenpreis" (German Recording Award) and a "Choc" in France.
Highly expressiv and blazing
The Amati Quartet plays Schubert and Janàcek in the Monastery Maulbronn
"This time the concert took place in the layical refectory, where chamber conerts are recorded. The CD has an excellend sound makes the tense atmosphere come alive again. The interpretation of the Amati quartett is highly intensified to a rather expressiv grade in every phase of the works. Even at the very beginning of the Schubert-quartett the sharply drawn uni-sono marks a sign of blazing performance of music, which hardly ever degrees intensity. The quartett sound of the Amatis is clear and linear, always made of insisting vibration. The radius of expression in the interpretation of both works and is overwhelming, transforming the componists' inner world into a direct musical event."
(Dr. Karl Georg Berg / Die Rheinpfalz)
Franz Schubert · String Quartet in D Minor D. 810
"The death and the maiden"
1. Allegro 11:53
2. Andante con moto 10:36
3. Scherzo. Allegro molto - Trio 3:46
4. Presto 8:52
Leos Janácek · String Quartet No. 2
5. Andante 6:40
6. Adagio 6:23
7. Moderato 6:09
8. Allegro 8:25
Publishing culture in its authentic form entails for us capturing and recording for posterity outstanding performances and concerts. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value.
The concerts in Maulbronn monastery, which we document with this edition, supply, in many ways, the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site (monastery church, cloister gardens, lay refectory, etc.), providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music.
Under the patronage of the Evangelical Seminar, the Maulbronn Monastery Cloister Concerts were instigated in 1968 with an abundance of musical enthusiasm and voluntary leadership. Within the hallowed walls of the classical grammar and boarding school, existent for more than 450 years, some of society's great thinkers, poets and humanists, such as Kepler, Hölderlin, Herwegh and Hesse received their first impressions. The youthful elan, the constructive participation of the pupils, continuing the tradition of their great predecessors, constructs an enlightened climate in which artistic ambitions can especially thrive. Twenty-five concerts take place between May and September. Their success can be largely attributed to the many voluntary helpers from near and far.
Flourishing culture in a living monument, created for the delight of the live audience and, last but not least, you the listener, are the ideals we document with this series.
Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler