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FREI ABER EINSAM

Cuarteto Quiroga

Brahms

SKU: COBRA0048

Year of release: 2015

String quartet op.51 nr1 34:05
1. Allegro Brahms 11:29
2. Poco Adagio Brahms 07:20
3. Allegretto molto moderato e comodo Brahms 08:57
4. Allegro Brahms 06:19
String quartet op.51 nr2 36:23
5. Allegro Brahms 13:42
6. Andante moderato Brahms 09:44
7. Quasi Minuetto, moderato Brahms 05:35
8. Allegro non assai Brahms 07:21
9. In stiller Nacht Brahms 02:35

About this album

FREI ABER EINSAM

This is not only a recording, it is the story of a fascinating journey. The solitary journey of a man who was able to preserve his identity and his artistic freedom bringing string quartet as genre, one may behold the heritage of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn -“whose manuscripts of the Opus 20 string quartets belonged to Brahms’ private library-” , the background of the german folk music tradition and also envisage the extraordinary (r)evolution of the second viennese school.

As Helena Poggio, Cuarteto Quiroga’s cellist, points out in the CD booklet, “Frei aber Einsam -? ‘free but lonely’ -” was the motto Brahms shared with his good friend Joseph Joachim and it forms letter of each German word represents a musical note (F-A-E). The inherent melancholic character of this motto can often be found virtually alone in defence of his work, his aesthetic conception and his chamber music. To the end, he remained true to himself refusing any path marked by fads and trends that might have impinged upon his freedom and independence. Never once did he regret his position despite the suffering that it caused him. In his own words: “For me F.A.E. (Frei aber Einsam) has remained a symbol and in spite of everything, I may very well bless it.”

Download booklet

Media

Reviews

The Strad (Dec. 2015)

The Quiroga’s A minor Quartet is very different, the bold and dark mood of the opening contrasting with a gently lyrical approach to the central section of the first movement. Rubato is used to shape the long phrases in the second movement, and the scherzo’s perfectly judged ‘wispy’ moments bring a charm that spills over into the finale. Pushing the pulse forwards, this highly desirable performance closes with a pleasing vivacity. Throughout both works, the Spanish-based ensemble produces a beautiful tone combined with an unblemished technique, the short Volkslied ‘In stiller Nacht’ coming as an encore. The sound quality and balance between instruments is admirable. - David Denton

Pizzicato (Jan. 2016)

Fine, sensitive and thoughtful performances by a Quartet which communicates conviction and belief in the music. The playing is first class and very transparent. - Remy Franck

MusicWeb International (Jul. 2016)

All it took was 15 seconds of the Madrid­ based Cuarteto Quiroga’s Op. 51 No. 1 to change my mind about these quartets, forever I think. In that first 15 seconds several things registered: superb dynamics, faultless balance and intonation, visceral energy and – passion!...In short, I don’t think you’ll hear better Brahms string quartet playing than this – or for that matter better string quartet recording...What the Cuarteto Quiroga bring to their performances is a level of musical communication that takes you to the heart of the composition, and the composer. - Des Hutchinson

Technical Specifications

Recording Softwaremerging, pyramix
Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
Recording LocationWestvest 90 Church Schiedam
Recording EngineerTom Peeters
ProducerTom Peeters
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom made
MicrophonesB&K 4003, modified by Rens Heijnis
Mastering EquipmentKEF Reference series 107
Mastering EngineerTom Peeters
Digital ConvertersdCS dsd AD
Binaural

For this album we chose to record in Binaural as well. This is a perfect solution for headphone users. The recordings are made with the dummy head of Neuman, the KU-100. On a headphone this gives a surprisingly realistic image and it gives you the feeling of being at the session. This idea to develop an extra Binaural catalogue in DSD is initiated and supported by Rivasono in The Netherlands.