Archive for March, 2011

Schubert, String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden”

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)

String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, D. 810, Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden), 1824

Death and the MaidenWith the powerful Quartettsatz in C minor of 1820, Schubert began his final run of mature string quartets, all masterworks of the genre. From the pithy, violent twelfth to the sprawling, transcendent fifteenth, Schubert seemed to traverse an arc of intense emotional expression describing a single mountain range of music. At the central peak likes the magnificent String Quartet No. 14 in D minor of 1824, posthumously titled Death and the Maiden after Schubert’s lied of the same name informing the second movement. But for its frightening single-mindedness, the D minor quartet is Schubert’s greatest quartet, among the finest in the entire quartet literature. (more…)

Desert Island Flower

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

This single “movement” is in my topmost desert island napsack. It is as fine and dramatic as Schubert’s quintet, shimmering with color, delicately braided duos, full of heartbreaking lyricism. There is a stunning silence of epic proportions, darkness, then transcendent love. Elegant, perfect. Dvořák is underrated. I have never heard this live. Tragic.