Cuarteto Casals WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART String Quartets dedicated to Joseph Haydn

No one could accuse the Cuarteto Casals of being reticent in these three of the six quartets that Mozart dedicated to Haydn, the works in G: K387, E flat K428 and C K465. They launch into every movement with tremendous relish, on such a tide of rich, deep string tone that they could be playing Brahms or Dvořák, and it comes with equally full-blooded, expressive inflections. It is very involving to begin with, as such musical generosity draws you into the performance – welcomes you almost. But after a while it all seems a bit too obvious and generalised. The habit of shaping every phrase the same way, so that each of them is turned into a crescendo, which can be heard right from the outset in the opening movement of K387, starts to be fussy, while the scoops and touches of portamento seem to belong to a different style of performance altogether. The musicality and warmth of the playing are never in doubt; it's just that the Casals' approach perhaps doesn't suit Mozart as well as it might later composers.(Andrew Clements)


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