Not that Schumann. This eponymous German quartet, formed in 2007, comprises three Schumann brothers and a violist unrelated by birth but tightly bound by the strings of their intensely communicative instruments. The ensemble’s third violist joined the fraternal core in 2022, so will be new to audience members who applauded the group’s previous visits in 2017 and 2018. Further contributing to a fresh sound may be the self-described “quantum leap” in the group’s musical development during the “enforced break” from touring occasioned by the pandemic. What sounds like marketing hyperbole gains credence from the Schumann Quartet’s insistent defiance of categorization: “anything is possible”; audiences must be “prepared for all eventualities”; we “dispensed with certainties,” “take things to extremes,” and “never know what will happen” in performance. Such unpredictable fluidity is also suggested by several album titles in their substantial and award-winning discography: Intermezzo, Chiaroscuro, and Fragment. Planned for release in 2023, in observance of the centenary of the radio and in league with Bavarian Radio, is an album of works roughly from 1923 with pieces by Berg, Janáček, Krenek, and Copland.
Beethoven: String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95
Berg: String Quartet
Smetana: String Quartet No. 1