New Interpreters: The Schumann Quartet

I have a new recording for you today:

The Schumann Quartet performs ‘Landscapes’, which features the following compositions:

String Quartet No. 2, Sz 67 (Op. 17)

String Quartet, Op. 76 No. 4 in B flat major ‘Sunrise’

Fratres for String Quartet

Landscape I for string quartet

All performed by the Schumann Quartet.

The Schumann Quartet are winners of the BBC Music Magazine 2016 Newcomer award.

“Landscapes” is a journey in sound to the roots of the Schumann Quartet, a foursome made up of the three brothers Erik, Ken and Mark Schumann and the viola player Liisa Randalu.

Four very different works contribute their personal stories to form a magical whole. At the album’s hub is Arvo Pärt’s composition “Fratres”, meaning “brothers”. The Schumann Quartet rehearsed the work with Pärt in Viimsi in Estonia and recorded it there. The personal contact with the composer came through Pärt’s Estonian fellow countryperson, Liisa Randalu.

The Schumann Quartet was founded about five years ago, but its unique playing culture means it already has an international reputation as one of the best quartets around. “One look, and I know how he/she would like to play the music at that moment,” says Ken Schumann about the mystical communion within the ensemble. It is this intuitive exchange between one another and the wish to raise this communication to the maximum degree, “to see what the tension and our joint spontaneity can take,” that makes the quartet so exceptional and that has been captured on “Landscapes”.

In line with the backgrounds of the quartet’s four members (the Schumann brothers are German, of Romanian-Japanese origin) the pieces on this album come from those various parts of the world: the album is a compilation of Estonian, Japanese, Hungarian and Austro-German works. The collection of pieces is tied together with the ribbon of “Landscapes” and is an integral part of the Schumann Quartet’s live program.

Here are the members of the Schumann Quartet, performing the music of Joseph Haydn:

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