Rosamunde Quartett ANTON WEBERN - DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - EMIL FRANTISEK BURIAN

The German-Austrian-Australian Rosamunde Quartett München was formed in 1991 by four musicians of widely differing backgrounds, and given early encouragement by Sergiu Celibedache and Heinrich Schiff. A major success at the Berliner Festwochen a year later elevated them to 'the elite of the lofty guild of string quartets' to quote one German critic, and since then they have toured the major festivals. The undervalued work of Czech composer Burian has been one of the quartet's enthusiasms from the outset. Here they contrast his 4th String Quartet with Shostakovich's 8th - in the process alluding to the troubled biographies of both men - in a programme that begins with Webern's farewell to Romanticism in the Langsamer Satz.

'One of the finest discs to come from ECM of late by the little-known but distinguished Rosamunde Quartet. The Webern dates from his short-live Romantic period, in style close to late Strauss or Schoenberg of Verklärte Nacht. Shostakovich's elegiac String Quartet No. 8, dedicated to 'the victims of fascism and war', glints with irony and self-reference, while the Czech Burian manages to be at once sinister and dreamy.'  (Fiona Maddocks, The Observer)

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