Zemlinsky: Complete String Quartets / Brodsky Quartet

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In this recording of Alexander Zemlinsky’s (1871-1942) complete String Quartets, the Brodsky Quartet gives fresh life to the composer’s works, ‘with a spirit so transformational you felt they were actually improving the world’, as reported by The Strad after a recent concert performance. The four string quartets represent a journey through Zemlinsky’s musical thought. The Brahmsian, youthful Quartet in A, op. 4 is generously proportioned and less earnest in mood than some earlier works. The Second Quartet, op. 15 echoes the composer’s years of emotional crisis. Contrastingly, the Third Quartet, op. 19 appears to be a sarcastic protest against modernism, Zemlinsky exploiting a minimum of material to maximum effect. Having been blacklisted and his music declared ‘degenerate’, the Fourth Quartet, op. 25 (1936) only achieved its first public performance in 1967. It deploys a wealth of thematic ideas in a process of continual variation and metamorphosis that follows the outlines of sonata form.The String Quartet in E minor failed to pass its trial at the Viennese Tonkünstlerverein when first presented in 1893. Not published until 1997, it appears here on disc for the first time.



Zemlinsky is a vital, underestimated figure. The Brodskys do passionate justice to the four published quartets, composed between 1896 and 1936. They also offer a welcome premiere recording of the meaty E minor quartet.

– Sunday Times (UK)

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 10845(2)

  • UPC: 095115184523

  • Label: Chandos

  • Composer: Alexander von Zemlinsky

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Brodsky String Quartet