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Schubert: The Death And The Maiden & Janácek: Intimate Letters

Cover: Physical CD
Cover: Digital Album
EUR 22,00
String Quartets
Schubert: The Death And The Maiden
Janácek: Intimate Letters

Leos Janácek:
String Quartet No.2
"Intimate Letters"

& Franz Schubert:
String Quartet in D Minor
"The death and the Maiden",

performed by the Amati Quartet

A concert recording from the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery

HD Recording · DDD · c. 65 Minutes


Work(s) & Performance


aa da-da-da dam... Smile, accuse me of being euphoric, but even after listening to so many concerts, this particular recording is one of the most moving moments that I have ever been privileged to witness at the Maulbronn Monastery. A breathless, tangible thrill from the first touch of the bow to the very last note. What really makes this recording dramatic is the way the composers complement each other perfectly. These compositions by Schubert and Janácek are some of the most beautiful in the entire quartet literature, and the ambience of the Maulbronn Monastery lends a rare prosaic expressiveness to this interpretation. The sheer class of the Amati String Quartet is shown in the way the recording captures not just the artistic perfection of their performance, but the atmosphere of the hall as well - indeed, the artists become totally carried away and create a work of art so moving that it literally - and audibly- takes the audience's breath away.

Josef-Stefan Kindler


er Tod und das Mädchen ("Death and the Maiden") by Franz Schubert gives us dramatic, passionate elation paired with an alarmingly serene wisdom. It was composed during Schubert's late phase (1826-28), which also includes such works as the song-cycle Winterreise ("A Winter's Journey"). Schubert's dance of death, based on the poem by Matthius Claudius poem, inspires few clear moments of comfort and confidence, and then only in a major key variation and in the Trio. There is nothing programmatic about it, even though the listener is granted considerable insight into Schubert's frame of mind in his later years.


ntimate Letters by Leos Janácek, the Moravian composer, is one of the most unconventional pieces of chamber music written in the early 20th century. It is consistently free of centuries-old composition techniques and the classical forms of the string quartet. The work speaks to us in the language of our century and also has a personal slant to it: it is impulsively turbulent and, at the same time, lyrically transfigured. It was inspired by the composer's subjective experience of a love relationship and imparts a deep world of emotions that can never be expressed in words...



he Amati String Quartet came into being in 1981 and was shortly afterwards awarded the Evian 'Premier Grand Prix du Concours International' and the Art Prize of the City of Zürich, as well as first prize at the Karl Klingler Competition in Munich. Their CD recordings of the Schostakowitch Quartets 3 & 7 and Szymanovski's Op. 56 and Ravel received the German Record Critics' Award. The recording of the Haydn String Quartets, Op. 50 won them the French award 'Choc du monde de la musique'. In recent years, the Amati Quartet has chalked up one success after another, with performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the Kölner Philharmonie, Berlin's Konzerthaus and New York's Carnegie Hall.
" of the most amazing concerts I ever attended." (Sir Yehudi Menuhin)
"A Interpretation, unheard since the best times of the Juillard-Quartett." (FAZ)
"Since the early 50s (Juillard-Quartett) it was'nt possible to listen to such a recording of the Bartók-string-quartetts. This is the best recording of the Bartók-quartetts at all." (In Tune, Japan/USA)
Willi Zimmermann & Katarzyna Nawrotek ~ Violin
Nicolas Corti ~ Viola · Claudius Herrmann ~ Cello

Series & Edition


ublishing Authentic Classical Concerts entails for us capturing and recording outstanding performances and concerts for posterity. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance, so we record the concerts in direct 2-Track Stereo digital HD. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value. Flourishing culture, enthralling the audience and last but not least also you the listener, are the values we endeavor to document in our editions and series.

The concerts at the UNESCO World Heritage Maulbronn Monastery supply the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site, providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music, documented by us in our Maulbronn Monastery Edition.

Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler, K&K Verlagsanstalt

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An extraordinary reading that rises to the moment

The severe sound environment of the Maulbronn Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the German state of Baden-Württemberg that dates to the twelfth century, has given rise to a series of recordings covering varying aspects of music from the Western concert tradition. That sound environment is put to intelligent use in this string quartet recital, which pairs well-worn pieces but gives them unusually intense interpretations that are heightened by the hard resonance of the sound. Sample the very beginning of the Schubert "String Quartet in D minor, D. 810" "Death and the Maiden", to get yourself into the disc; the opening chords might be described as slashing. Move on to the second-movement variation set built on the song that gives the quartet its name; where many quartets let a sort of debilitated gloom hang over much of the movement, everything here is a life-and-death struggle. The stronger of the two performances on the disc is that of Janácek's 1928 "String Quartet No. 2," subtitled "Intimate Letters," a hypersubjective work whose emotional content could have been drawn straight from one of Sigmund Freud's contemporaneous psychotherapy sessions. The work is as dissonant as almost any other of its period that does not completely reject tonality, but the dissonance is used in the service of untrammelled expression. The letters evoked are those between the composer and his married mistress. Yet the Amati Quartet's performance, ringing around the monastery walls, brings to mind, to use John le Carré's memorable simile, thoughts that are like birds stuck in a greenhouse. It's an extraordinary reading that rises to the moment offered by a specific performance space, and the disc as a whole, while not for those who like the emotional temperature of their classical music kept to medium, is decisively recommended to those wanting to try out the Maulbronn series.

James Manheim, All Music Guide


I enjoyed it tremendously

It took me completely unawares when the dramatic opening bars of "Death and the Maiden" gripped me by the throat and threatened immediate life-extinction; I felt as if I were living the story myself, and though no maiden, I could certainly relate to her death-obsessed plight. This version is almost orchestral in feeling. While it is true that there is a huge amount of reverb in this space - well, it is a monastery - this only partially accounts for the destructive vehemence that the Amati gives this work. They see and saw their way as if it were the world's last concert, or the devil himself was in the audience. I enjoyed it tremendously...

Steven E. Ritter, FANFARE Magazine


Another thumbs up for this extremely enterprising German label

The enterprising German label K&K has made a name for themselves by issuing critically acclaimed recordings of oratorios and other sacred works in the haunting location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Maulbronn Monastery. This CD features two string quartets by masters in the genre, Franz Schubert and Leoš Janácek played by the legendary Amati Quartet, one of the finest ensembles currently recording. Both works come across quite beautifully in the sumptuous acoustic and as expected, the Amati play with their exemplary brilliance especially in the "Intimate Letters" which is certainly very hard to bring off. This is another thumbs up for this extremely enterprising German label.

Gerald Fenech on Classical Net



Awarded by Qobuz with the HI-RES AUDIO

March 2012

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