Philips - 1 LP - 9500 078 - (p) 1977
Philips - 1 CD - 426 383-2 - (c) 1990
Decca - 37 CDs - 478 8824 - (c) 2015

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 29 (D 804) "Rosamunde"
36' 50"
- Allegro ma non troppo
14' 26"

- Andante
8' 16"

- Menuetto (Allegretto) 6' 55"

- Allegro moderato
7' 13"

String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 125 No. 1 (D 87)
26' 56"
- Allegro moderato
9' 35"

- Scherzo (Prestissimo)
2' 09"

- Adagio 7' 27"

- Allegro 8' 17"

- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello


Luogo e data di registrazione
Musica Thtre Salle de Musique, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Svizzera) - 5-28 gennaio 1976

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Engineer
Vittorio Negri | Tony Buczynski

Prima Edizione LP
Philips | 9500 078 | 1 LP | (p) 1977

Prima Edizione CD
Philips | 426 383-2 | 1 CD - 76' 34" | (c) 1990 | ADD | (D 804)
Decca | 478 8824 | 37 CDs - (30, 1-4) | (c) 2015 | ADD | (D 87)


Only a few specialists are in a position to take a comprehensive view of Schubert's total output in its almost unfathomable profusion (the catalogue drawn up by Otto Erich Deutsch comes to about a third more numbers than Kchel's Mozart). The same is also true of the separate categories of works - in fact, only quite a small proportion of the songs, the chamber music and the piano music for two or four hands is widely known. The chamber music is represented by the last three string quartets, the piano trios, the string quintet, and the "Trout" Quintet. Even with the symphonies there is a tendency to keep to the late pieces. The clear preference for the "middle" and "late" instrumental works, which may perhaps be contrasted with the more uniform acceptance of Beethoven's work, is at all events not unreasonable, for the later music undoubtedly ranks a good deal higher than the instrumental works of his boyhood: and this is not just a matter of "stylistic development," but probably stems from the fact that it was only by way of Schubert's song-writing that he found his own voice for instrumental music as well. Thus, for instance, the song "Gretchen am Spinnrade," written in 1814 must be rated altogether superior to the contemporary Second Symphony or the D major and B flat major String Quartets.
"Schubert is now having a fortnight of fasting and staying at home," wrote the painter Moritz von Schwind, a member of Schubert's circle, in a letter to Franz von Schober: "he is extraordinarily hungry and composes innumerable quartets and German dances and variations "In the space of a few weeks closely following the music for "Rosamunde" and "Die Schne Mllerin," completed in 1823, he wrote - to name only the greatest compositions - the Flute Variations on "Trockne Blumen," the two String Quartets in A minor (Op. 29) and D minor ("Death and the Maiden"), and the Octet, Op. 166.
The Andante of the String Quartet in A minor D. 804 is derived from one of the entr'actes for Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus," a play by Helmina von Chzy, the poetess whose ineffable libretti had already spelt doom for Weber and his "Euryanthe." "Rosamunde," performed in Vienna in December 1823, fell victim to devastating criticism, and so it is quite understandable that in order to rescue the enchanting melody from the entr'acte Schubert transferred it to the quartet written shortly afterwards. (A variant of the theme turns up once again in the third of the four piano impromtus, Op. 142 of 1827). It would nevertheless be a mistake to speak in terms of a creative frenzy in the spring of 1824, for w know from a letter Schubert wrote to the painter Kupelwieser in Rome, that he was in danger of sinking into a resigned melancholy: "Every night, when I go to sleep, I hope I shall not wake up again, and every morning brings me only the troubles of the day before. My days are so endless and friendless..." One is inclined to feel that this elegiae mood was transformed into music in the first movement of the A minor Quartet.
"I have been trying my hand," writes Schubert in the same letter, "at several instrumental pieces, for I have composed two quartets... and an octet, and I want to write another quartet, for my overriding intention is to prepare my path in this way for a great symphony." The "great symphony" was simply the standard work which the ambitious composer had to tackle and which could bring him public recognition - this was normal right through the nineteenth century, from Beethoven to Mahler. And Schubert had not in fact written a "great symphony" by 1824, for he could not count either his early works in this form or the "Unfinished" B minor Symphony. For modern ears, however, it is actually the two string quartets of 1824 in A minor and D minor, which are amongst Schubert's most personal instrumental compositions, more so perhaps than the "Great C major" Symphony.
The a minor String Quartet was performed in March 1824 at a concert given by the Society of Friends of Music, with Ignaz Schuppanzigh as leader - the only one of Schubert's quartets to attain the distinction of a complete public performances in his lifetime. (It was also the only Schubert quartet to be published - by a Viennese firm in the autumn of 1824.) The press notices were reserved: the Viennese "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung" felt that one would need. "to hear [the composition] more often before giving a considered judgement" (a familiar theme in reviews which seek to hide their own anadequacy under a truism); and the correspondent of the "Leipziger Blatt" observed rather paltroisingly: "Quartet No. 1 by Schubert: not too had for a first effort." (Nothing was generally known of the existence of earlier quartets by Schubert.) His friend Moritz von Schwind, however, hit upon a description still valid today when he wrote: "The quartet by Schubert was performed, rather slowly in his opinion, but with great purity and tenderness. As a whole it is very gentle but it has a way of making a melody stay with one, as in a song, full of feeling and very distinctive."
Peter Steiner