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Danish String Quartet

Prism II - Beethoven / Schnittke / Bach


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1 Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 869 / Fugue in B minor
2 Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3 / Andante
3 Agitato
4 Pesante
5 Beethoven: String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 / Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro
6 Presto
7 Poco scherzando. Andante con moto ma non troppo
8 Alla danza tedesca. Allegro assai
9 Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo
10 Overtura. Allegro - Fuga
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Each of the albums in the 's ongoing Prism project links one of the five late Beethoven quartets with a Bach fugue and a kindred-spirit work by a later master. Released last year, the Grammy-nominated first instalment of the series earned wide acclaim. The second volume of the series begins with the Fugue in B minor, BWV 869, which completes J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (in an arrangement by Viennese composer Emanuel Aloys Förster, an elder contemporary of Beethoven). As Prism Iincluded a quartet by Shostakovich, Prism II features one Alfred Schnittke. Characteristically, Schnittke's String Quartet No. 3 of 1983 echoes with the sound of ghosts, from the late 16th century (Orlando Lassus and his Stabat Mater) to the mid-20th century (Shostakovich and his musical monogram of DSCH – which, as Paul Griffiths points out in his booklet essay, can be sensed as a transposition of the first four notes of the theme from Beethoven's titanic "Grosse Fugue"). The original version of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130, included the "Grosse Fugue" as its final movement – which is how the DSQ presents the piece on Prism II. 

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