ARTUR SCHNABEL (1882-1951): String Quartet No. 1, Notturno for Contralto and Piano, Op. 16.
Catalogue Number: 02N054
Reference: 777 622-2
Description: This 50-minute quartet from 1918 was first recorded in 1998 by the Whitman Quartet and issued on Paul Zukovsky's CP2 label and the latter's notes encapsulate Schnabel's originality - a bit of Schoenberg's first string quartet, dissonant but not exactly atonal, hovering between tonal centers rather than between keys (so not bitonal exactly), possibly a hint of Busoni, but always expressive if a little verbose. Very little is said about the 1914 Notturno (not even that its text is by Richard Dehmel). At almost 23 minutes, one would like to have had some more information (but if you have Richard Strauss' orchestral song Notturno, it's the same text). But we can tell you that it's also highly expressionistic-sounding, closer to the Schoenberg of Das Buch des hängenden Gartens than to the one of Pierrot Lunaire (a performance of which Schnabel participated in!). No texts. Pellegrini Quartet, Noa Frenkel (alto), Irmela Roelcke (piano).