Schubert: String Quartet No 14 in D minor, D810 (Death and the Maiden); Sibelius: String Quartet in D minor, Op 56 (Voces intimae)

Reviewed on Wed 09 Aug, 2017

It is palpable that these musicians invest everything with a lightness of touch and a keen ear for sonority whilst not overplaying Schubert’s Viennese indulgences.

Death, or the foreboding of it, infuses this pairing of Schubert and Sibelius quartets, to make you wonder why they have never been recorded together before. The subject, though, does not make the works sound overtly gloomy, as the Ehnes Quartet’s emotionally laden performances eloquently prove. From the opening of Schubert’s 'Death and the Maiden' it is palpable that these musicians invest everything with a lightness of touch and a keen ear for sonority whilst not overplaying Schubert’s Viennese indulgences. Sibelius’s only published string quartet might be lesser known; however, this five-movement beauty is simultaneously intimate and illuminating of the Fourth Symphony’s larger canvas. Ever his own man, Sibelius’s colour palette and dynamic inventiveness captivate anew with each subsequent hearing. Superb recorded sound seals the deal.
–Evan Dickerson