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Penguin Guide, January 2009

SPOHR, L.: String Quartets (Complete), Vol. 7 - Nos. 11 and 12 (New Budapest Quartet) 8.223257
SPOHR, L.: String Quartets (Complete), Vol. 8 - Nos. 13 and 14 (New Budapest Quartet) 8.223258

The Quatuor brilliant dates from 1817, and its subtitle is deceptive, for, as its engaging opening suggests, it is essentially a lyrical work, although the closing Minuet sparkles brightly enough. The Op. 45 Quartets are more romantic in feeling, suaver in texture, moving further away from the classical Haydn idiom. The melancholy introduction to the F minor Quartet certainly catches the listener up, but the clouds lift with the key change to A major and the first movements is essentially amiable, although the hymn-like Adagio returns to the mood of the opening. The ‘fantasy’ Scherzo is then most welcome, and the brilliant finale soon produces a lollipop lyrical idea, which then dominates the movement. The Budapest players are at their very best in these fine works.


"I need hardly repeat yet again that the NBQ is magisterial and magical in both quartets"

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