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The right moment for Schumann – Schumann Quartet releases new album “Intermezzo”

With its current album, “Intermezzo”, the Schumann Quartet is turning its attention to its prominent Romantic namesake on a recording for the first time. Robert Schumann’s string quartet op. 41/1 is combined with Felix Mendelssohn’s op. 12 and two compositions by Aribert Reimann: his “Adagio in Memory of Robert Schumann” and the Schumann transcription “Six Songs op. 107” for soprano and string quartet with the peerless Anna Lucia Richter.

It was time; indeed, it was almost overdue. The Schumann Quartet, which has been frenetically celebrated throughout the world by critics and audiences alike (“one of the very best formations among the current boom in quartets”, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung) has finally paid reverence in the studio to its composer namesake. On the quartet’s new CD, almost everything revolves around Robert Schumann, with deliberate connections drawn to his friend and contemporary Mendelssohn and to the present day with Aribert Reimann. The nucleus of the new album “Intermezzo” is Schumann’s String Quartet in A Minor, op. 41/1, which has long formed part of the live repertoire of the ensemble, founded in Cologne in 2007: “We want to draw all that is best and most profound from his music. This piece has accompanied us for several years now, and we decided: now is the right moment to record this work,” says Mark Schumann.

And indeed, the transformation of Classical and Romantic literature to fit the here and now is something that the Schumann Quartet, which will be “Artiste étoile” at the Mozart Festival in Würzburg in 2018, achieves better than almost any other ensemble of its generation. It is as if these four musicians had dipped the scores in a fountain of youth. For the ensemble’s studio production last year, “Landscapes”, issued on Edel Classics, it received five Diapasons and the annual German Record Critics’ Award, and was selected as “Editor’s Choice” by BBC Music Magazine.

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