Schubert: String Quartets – No 12 in C minor, D703 (Quartettsatz); No 15 in G major, D887

Reviewed on Tue 24 Jan, 2017

The Dorics treat melodies with robust directness, stretch contrasts to potent effect and fill the canvas with telling details.

After forays into Haydn and Brett Dean, the wide-ranging Doric String Quartet return to Schubert for blistering performances of two sinewy late works. In evidence here is playing of the utmost intelligence, incisiveness and wholly articulate reciprocity. There’s gymnastic athleticism, too, in the heaving tumult of the opening to the C minor Quartettsatz (the abbreviated herald of the achievements that were to follow) and its subsequent cascade of imposing technical challenges. Impeccable pacing and dynamics add to the sense of protean drama. Composed in 1826, two years before his death although not published until 1851, the G major Quartet also offered hints of what was to come, its symphonic scale marked by an often feverish intensity. The Dorics treat melodies with robust directness, stretch contrasts to potent effect and fill the canvas with telling details – shimmering high violins and earthy, coruscated cello by turns kept separate and blended together by supplicatory viola. Excellent sound and informative notes by Bayan Northcott.
–Michael Quinn