Joseph Haydn string quartett in B-flat major Op. 76 "Sunrise"
- Allegro con spirito
Toru Takemitsu "Landscape" for string quartet
Béla Bartók string quartet No. 2
- Allegro molto capriccioso
Arvo Pärt "Fratres"
“Four fundamentally different works merge into a musical whole by virtue of our deep and personal relationship with them – like a quartet.” (Schumann Quartet)
When the Schumann Quartet took stock of the selection of works for this recording, they realised that they had, completely intuitively, put together a concept album, without ever having planned to do so. The pieces had to be ones that are close to their hearts, ones that they often play. (...) Ultimately, they are works from four different parts of the classical-music world: an Estonian piece, a Japanese piece, a Hungarian piece and an Austrian-German piece. And contrasts, differences and contradictions also dominate within the works themselves. This is what Christopher Warmuth relates in the booklet text, after a conversation with the quartet.
This recording thus represents the kind of pure antithesis that gives life to every great whole. Alongside Joseph Haydn's “Sunrise Quartet”, op. 76, No. 4, a homage to “the father of the string quartet”, Béla Bartók's String Quartet No. 2, a ne plus ultra of the quartet repertoire, provides a striking contrast with its “imaginary folklore” flavour. It is set off in its turn by Arvo Pärt's evocative, meditative “Fratres”, which exists in versions for very different instrumental combinations, including, as here, for string quartet. The composer – who like violist Liisa Randalu comes from Estonia – has clearly formulated what he sees as the task of music: “For me, the greatest value of music goes beyond its tone colours (...) Music must exist through itself (...) Mystery must be there, whatever the instrument.” The Schumann Quartet prepared this work together with him and recorded it in a church in Viimsi, near Tallinn. And finally, with the title composition, “Landscape I” by Tōru Takemitsu, the Schumanns (who incidentally speak fluent Japanese) forge a connection to their mother's native land – an exotic sound-landscape of noble delicacy that sets wonderful contrasts.