Quarterly Critic’s Choice
The best and most interesting new releases of the previous three months are awarded a place on the Quarterly Critic’s Choice. Evaluation criteria are artistic quality, repertoire value, presentation, and sound quality. From 2014 onward, the Long Lists are stored directly with each Quarterly Critic’s Choice.
Ravel, Schumann: String Quartets
Maurice Ravel: String Quartet in F major; Robert Schumann: String Quartet op. 41 No. 3. Leonkoro Quartet. Mirare MIR674 (harmonia mundi/Bertus)
What a calling-card! Founded in 2019, the Berlin-based Leonkoro Quartet offers a beauty of tone that ranges from surreal sound-worlds to intense physicality on its debut CD. The four musicians play with both sensitivity for detail and dramaturgy and an intelligence and curiosity for hidden messages and concealed forms. The listener journeys from amazement to rapture and from rapture to the highest sympathy for this young ensemble. They make everything sound new: even the famous string quartets by Schumann and Ravel. For the jury: Susanne Stähr
»Sterne steigen dort…« (Stars are rising there…)
Portrait of the composer Albert Maria Herz. Asasello-Quartett, E-MEX-Ensemble, Christiane Oelze. Genuin GEN 23837 (Note 1)
Maria Herz (1878-1950) became more successful when she added the male Albert to her name. The intensity of her music is moving. It is dense, expressive, charming and imaginative. The album title »Sterne steigen dort…« is taken from a line of poetry by Stefan George; the five orchestral songs based on texts by the symbolist composer are full of enigmatic sounds. Christoph Maria Wagner has arranged them effectively for chamber music ensemble. The Asasello Quartet, the E-MEX Ensemble and Christiane Oelze explore this music with versatility, sensitivity and passion of the very highest level. It is good that the composer is finally being rediscovered. For the jury: Elisabeth Richter