Henschel Quartet

Month

Biography

In 2014 the Henschel Quartet celebrates its 20th anniversary year

The year 1994 marked the foundation of the Henschel Quartets international career, when cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshøj joined the founding members Christoph, Markus, and Monika Henschel, and the quartet devoted itself exclusively to chamber music. In 1995 the quartet won multiple prizes at the international competitions of Evian, Banff, and Salzburg, and the following year won 1st prize and the gold medal at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. Successful debuts in the worlds musical capitals, including an acclaimed BBC live broadcast standing in for the Juilliard Quartet, led their way to the forefront of international chamber music. This is, no question, one of the best groups in the world, a great string quartet. (Los Angeles Times).

In 2011 the quartet welcomed the celebrated chamber musician Daniel Bell as a new member.

The quartets musical journey has included many remarkable highlights. The Henschel Quartet played at the official re-opening of the Anna-Amalia Library in Weimar (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and travelled to Brussels as a Cultural Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. In March 2010 the quartet was privileged to perform at the Vatican in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. The quartet has regularly been invited to the Royal Palace of Madrid to perform on the four Stradivari of the royal collection. In June 2012 the Henschel Quartet was invited, as the first European quartet in twenty years, to perform Beethovens complete string quartets in the prestigious Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In the same year Monika Henschel became the president of the newly-formed Association of German String Quartets, and in 2013 Christoph Henschel was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Augsburg.
Highlights of the current season include concerts in Amsterdam and New York (Carnegie Hall).

The Henschel Quartets recordings have been awarded many prizes, including the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and several CD of the Year Awards (IMW). Their CDs have been recommended in such prominent titles as Gramophone Magazine, the Sunday Times, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Henschel Quartet regularly accepts invitations to teach at world-class institutions, from Yale University in the USA to the Royal Northern College of Music in England and the University of Melbourne in Australia. The quartet is also engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the Bavarian Ministry of Culture in relation to youth music projects in the quartets home city of Munich.

Since 2006 the Henschel Quartet has been contributing as an Ambassador of SOS Childrens Villages.

Calendar

Henschel Quartet's appearance in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

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Repertoire

Please note: this repertoire list is for reference only. The choice of repertoire for a particular project remains at the artist’s discretion.
The works listed below are a selection of the Henschel Quartet repertoire. Further information is offered upon request.

String Quartets

Alban Berg

String Quartet Op.3

Alberto Ginastera

String Quartet No.1, Op. 20
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26

Antonin Dvorak

String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96, "American"
String Quartet in A Flat Major, Op. 105

Arnold Schönberg

String Quartet No.1, D minor, Op.7

Bedrich Smetana

String Quartet No. 1 in E minor 'From My Life'

Béla Bartók

String Quartets No. 1, 4, 5 and 6

Benjamin Britten

String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94

Claude Debussy

String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10

Dmitry Shostakovich

String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73
String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110

Franz Joseph Haydn

Cello Concerto in D major, Hob.VIIb:2
String Quartet No. 29 in G major, Op. 33/5 Hob.III:41, "How do you do?"
String Quartet No. 31 in B minor, Op. 33/1 Hob.III:37
String Quartet No. 48 in C major, Op. 64/1 Hob.III:65
String Quartet No. 52 in E flat major, Op. 64/6 Hob.III:64

Franz Schubert

5 menuets for String Quartet D 89
String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, D. 87
String Quartet No. 12 in C minor, D. 703, "Quartettsatz"
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804 "Rosamunde"
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden"
String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887, Op. 161
String Quartet No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 168, D. 112

Igor Stravinsky

Three pieces for string quartet

Johannes Brahms

String Quartets, Op. 51 and Op. 67

Leoš Janácek

String Quartet No. 1, JW VII/8, "Kreutzer Sonata"

Ludwig van Beethoven

String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130
String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132
String Quartet Op. 59, No.1 "Rasumovsky"

Maurice Ravel

String Quartet in F major

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
String Quartet No. 3 in E flat minor, Op. 30

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

String Quartet no. 12 in B flat Major, KV 172
String Quartet no. 14 in G Major, KV 387
String Quartet no. 15 in D minor, KV 421
String Quartet no. 16 in E flat Major, KV 428
String Quartet no. 18 in A Major, KV 464
String Quartet no. 19 in C Major, KV 465, "Dissonance"
String Quartet no. 20 in D Major, KV. 499, "Hoffmeister"
String Quartet no. 21 in D Major, KV 575 Prussian/1
String Quartet no. 22 in B flat Major, KV 589, Prussian/2
String Quartet no. 23 in F Major, KV. 590, Prussian/3
Other Chamber Music

Antonin Dvorak

Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81

César Franck

Piano Quintet in F Minor

Felix Mendelssohn

String Octet in E flat major, Op. 20

Franz Schubert

Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 114, D. 667, "Die Forelle"
String Quintet in C major, Op. 163, D. 956

Johannes Brahms

Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, op. 115
Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 18
String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 16
String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29
String Trio Op. 9, No. 1 in G Major

Niels W. Gade

String Octet inF Major, Op. 17

Robert Schumann

Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Clarinet Quintet in A Major KV 581 "Stadler"
Flute Quartet, KV 285
Horn Quintet in E flat Major, KV 407
Oboe Quartet in F Major, KV 370
String Quintet in C minor, KV 406
String Quintet in G minor, KV 516
Review
Henschel Quartet, Ripon Cathedral
Andrew Palmer, www.harrogatetoday.co.uk
Fri, 2006-11-10
GERMANS are well-known for their precision, whether it be in the field of engineering or the arts. Last Monday evening four musicians gave a recital in Ripon Cathedral demonstrating an impressive technique of impeccable string playing. The stunning Henschel Quartet – a German family affair (brothers Christoph and Markus, along with elder sister Monika Henschel, and cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshoj) – performed works by Françaix, Mozart, Stravinsky and Brahms in a gripping display of some of the best string quartet repertoire. The intimacy between the players and their communicative looks towards each other ensured accurate playing. Those gathered felt they could have been eavesdropping on the family Henschel at home, as, under the two standard lamps on the stage, the appreciative audience listened and watched the ease in which these masters in their field performed. This will go down as one of the highlights of the Cathedral Concert Society’s recital series this season; the crisp playing captivated the audience. During the silences the magic continued, not a sound could be heard, so riveting and spellbinding was the performance. The lightness and pizzicato in the opening of Françaix’s String Quartet in G minor showed unforced freshness and vitality, while at the same time not losing any expressiveness. Enchanting was the word of the night as the quartet moved on to Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor. After the interval the audience was treated to Stravinksy’s interesting and short Three Pieces for String Quartet in which the Henschels gave a finely carved and thoughtful performance radiating delight and brilliance. The final work was Brahms’ String Quartet in C minor and the spell, which the Henschels cast over their audience at the beginning, continued its hold. Immaculate technique, clean, crisp, precise musicianship oozed from the players as they continued the lyrical flow and virtuosity. Even the delicate movements from all four of the pieces highlighted unanimity in the phrasing. The way the soloists passed their musical themes from the resonant cello to the viola and then to the violins was exquisite. For me, and I am sure for everyone present, this was quite simply glorious chamber music at its finest.
The Henschel quartet finds a balance between old and new values
Rainer Lepuschitz, Publicum
Thu, 2006-06-01
The famous conductor, Sergiu Celibidache who died in 1996, was one of their patrons and loved listening to the young musicians rehearsing. They studied under the legendary Amadeus Quartet, and later with musicians from the Alban Berg Quartet, the LaSalle Quartet and the Melos Quartet. The three siblings Christoph, Markus and Monika Henschel, together with Mathias Beyer- Karlshøj, have carried on the great tradition of twentieth century quartet playing, building on the skills and musicianship of distinguished musicians. Coupled with their own inspiration and continuous striving for further development in interpretation, the result is a quartet whose quality and substance is at the pinnacle of contemporary musical life. Insbruck is honoured that the Henschel Quartet from Germany has included an appearance at the Konservatoriumssaal in its concert schedule this year, alongside performances at such prestigious venues as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, the Schubert Festival in Feldkirch, the Munich Philharmonic and well-known concert halls in Japan. The choice of programme for the Henschel’s Innsbruck chamber concert, which includes quartets by Mozart and Janacek and the Schubert quintet (together with the cellist Sebastian Hess), tells us much about the history and development of the ensemble. In an interview, Monika Henschel-Schwind reveals how close Schubert has grown to her heart and to the hearts of her fellow musicians through their work with the Amadeus Quartet. "Vienna, Viennese blood, rings from every note, and must pulsate during performances of Schubert's music". Moreover Schubert, together with the three classical „Greats“ Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, belong to those composers „who through their music and their style of quartet composition have been guiding lights for us“ says Monika Henschel-Schwind. Janacek, however, suits „our extremely expressive natures“. The Henschel quartet is never afraid to run the full gambit of expression, even when playing music where recent aesthetic trends have been towards authentic historical practice and sound. For example, with Mozart “it has become fashionable to reflect our knowledge of historical practice in performances“ says Monika....“ This trend has had a formative influence on our work too“. The quartet is constantly looking for new interpretations and experiences. They also welcome contact with other quartet ensembles. For many years the Henschels have been meeting up with other quartets to make music together at the String Festival in Kloster Seligenstadt and, from this year, also at the Nymphenburg Summer Festival in Munich. „We are happy to be influenced by others and also to pass on our own ideas.“ One thing that is important to the four musicians at all of these new encounters, is to preserve their own identity and individual style. For Monika Henschel-Schwind and her fellow musicians have taken away an important message from their studies with great musicians „When you play, what is most important is the spirit and the message. Only then can the aesthetic sense emerge. Monika remembers a key phrase: „the aesthetics may change but the message remains the same“. The Henschels have managed to maintain the balance between trying to develop and yet retain the character of the ensemble for nearly fifteen years now. What is it like spending so much time together, rehearsing, performing and going on tour? „It’s like being in a marriage of four people“ says Monika. The members of the quartet invest a lot of time and effort in growing together musically and personally. Diversity and change are also beneficial. So the ensemble is always looking for ways to extend their repertoire and satisy their enthusiams. At the moment the four musicians find themselves in a Trojahn fever. To mark the reopening of the Anna-Amalia library in Weimar, which burned down a few years ago and has now been restored, the work „Lettera amorosa“ by Manfred Trojahn was given its first performance. A noble task for the German ensemble, who as a result of this commission became aware of Trojahn’s other chamber music and is now planning to record his string quartet. Other important recent developments in their repertory have included works from Bartok, Schönberg and Schulhoff. Diversity has also brought excursions into other musical areas. Members of the Henschel quartet play with the young Munich Philharmonic orchestra allowing them the opportunity to give their younger colleagues the benefit of their instrumental experience. Their aim not only to delight people but also to help others who live in difficult circumstances was realised in their involvement with the SOS Kinderdorf. They give a percentage of their fees to this charity. „We also visit the childrens’ villages to make music with the children“ says Monika Henschel-Schwind. Their appearance in Innsbruck has a special meaning for them – being able to play in the homeland of the founder of the childrens’ village movement, Hermann Gmeiner. The four members of the Henschel quratet were this year appointed classical music ambassadors to the SOS Kinderdorf. Thus the work that the ensemble has been doing for so many years in support of the SOS Kinderdorf initiative will be continued now on a more official footing.
No Fear
Reinhard Schulz, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Mon, 2006-06-26
Chamber music with no intensive interplay, forget it. That's what the long-since internationally renowned Henschel Quartet thought, too, and proceeded to install a chamber music committee at the Seligenstadt Monastery near Frankfurt. This year, the Kuss Quartet was invited. It was two evenings this time; on the first, the Henschels played Beethoven's Op. 18/1 and the Kuss Quartet offered Schumann's A-Minor Quartet Op. 41/1. The Henschel Quartet was charming, with great density of tone, emphatic sharing of abrupt accents and tender retreats. Beethoven's first quartet "six-pack" is indeed a treasure-trove of such energetic exercise, but here, the composer is much more advanced than are other works of the period, and in a spirit of creative affront, it perhaps surpasses even Schumann's A-Minor Quartet, originating forty years later. In Mozart's resolute, thematically closely worked quartet, we met only some of the players; in the Shostakovich Octet Op. 11, everybody was onstage. These two movements by the nineteen-year-old composer are a bold throw of the dice, bursting with vitality; one felt the crackling tension with which this piece was created. So, one need have no fear for chamber music.
Mendelssohn Box: Recording of the Year
Michael Cookson, Music Web International
Sun, 2006-01-01
The aristocratic playing of the Henschels is so sparkling, exhilarating and consistently expertly performed throughout the complete String Quartets that this super budget priced Arte Nova set is now my premier recommendation of all the available sets in this terrifically competitive market. The talented Henschels clearly have a special affinity for these scores and their interpretations are masterly illustrations of humane, old world music making. The set is a considerable achievement!
The Focus Magazine CD Choice: Early & Mature Beethoven
Focus Magazine 34/2005
Thu, 2005-09-01
In their early 30s the Henschel Quartet is firmly established on the International music scene as one of the best String Quartets of its generation. Polished interaction, uninhibited virtuosity, temperament and intelligent musicianship are hallmarks of there playing. Their latest CD presents two Beethoven quartets an early and mature work – opus 18 & opus 127 both performed with irresistible charm.
The Grammophon Editor´s Choice
Duncan Druce, The Gramophone
Fri, 2005-07-01
The Henschel Quartet’s Mendelssohn set, now complete, is a fine achievement and an extraordinary bargain. I’m impressed by the intense involvement that makes the outer movements of No 3, for example, sound not merely brilliant but truly joyful.
Worth Waiting For
MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews
Fri, 2008-08-01
Premières are always special occasions. Whether it be the first performance of a new work by a well loved composer, which one welcomes like an old friend telling a new story, or a new composer with, hopefully, something to say, there is always an air of expectancy in the concert hall. Tonight’s première was somewhat different, Bruch’s Quintet is already 90 years old, and the reason for the delay in performance is unusual. At the end of his life Bruch wrote three chamber works (two Quintets and an Octet). The manuscripts of one of the Quintets and the Octet were destroyed during the war and only exist because the composer’s daughter-in-law made hand written copies. The manuscript of this Quintet went into private hands and it only became available to the public when it appeared for auction two years ago. The question has to be – was it worth waiting for? The answer is a most definite yes. In four compact movements, playing for about 30 minutes, it’s a playful, delightfully scored piece, tightly constructed in two sections, each in two movements. The slowish first movement was over almost before it began, lovely sustained music, and burst into a breathless allegro. The slow third movement acted as an introduction to the finale, which, itself, started with a slow introduction, and the work came to a joyous conclusion without any angst or troubles. It’s a fine addition to the repertoire and, although the language is of seventy years earlier, and Bruch doesn’t tell us anything new, it’s pleasant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So did the Henschel’s and Sawa. They played it with authority – never an easy thing to do with a new work – and treated it as the divertissement it so obviously is. Let’s hope it’s not going to be another 90 years before we’re allowed to hear it again! The concert started with Erwin Schulhoff’s 1st Quartet – but his fourth work in the genre – a composition which plays fast and loose with form and content. Schulhoff is one of those composers who disappeared because of the war – he died in Wülzberg, Bavaria, of Tuberculosis in 1942. Many of his works were fuelled by jazz – the Hot Sonata for saxophone, Esquisses de Jazz, for piano and the Suite for chamber orchestra [Suite in the new style], op.37; the unusual (for want of a better word) Sonata Erotica, for moaning solo soprano, is another matter entirely – and these are the pieces for which he was best known for many years. Today there are recordings of most of his music and he regularly receives performances, which is more than he did during his lifetime. The 1st Quartet doesn’t have anything to do with jazz but it does have a lot to do with the expressionist movement. Beginning furiously it contains a lovely slow movement, a folk dance-like scherzo and a slow finale which, after all the excitement and the various twists and turns of the music, ends in magical peace, the music fading away to nothingness, which took the audience by surprise. It’s a very strong piece and it got a performance worthy of it. The Henschels weren’t afraid to let themselves go when the music demanded it, and they tore into the music with a gusto. The final diminuendo was heart breaking in its intensity. After the interval, late Schubert and another work of heavenly length. This is a disturbing work, full of strange tremolandos, quickly repeated notes, odd turns of harmony, and a high degree of violent gestures. The first movement is high drama, even in the lyrical passages there are disruptive elements and the Quartet pointed all the oddities Schubert throws at us, making it a most troubling listen. The slow movement, with its glorious writing for the cello, is more of the same but within a slower, more refined, atmosphere. Two huge climaxes disrupt the flow of the music, and the Quartet rose to the challenge and made them appear to be of titanic proportions. The other two movements are easier but still contain unsettling elements. The trio of the scherzo, for instance, is quite spooky and the finale, despite having an outwardly bucolic main theme contains such turns of harmony as to keep us wondering where the music is going. It’s a difficult work to bring off successfully because of the unusual nature of the music but the Henschel Quartet understood how to make the music work and they gave a towering performance, full of energy, mystery and beauty in the slow movement. Bob Briggs
Radiating Experience in Wigmore Hall
Classical Source
Tue, 2008-08-05
'The modest dimensions of the works by Schulhoff and Bruch were put in context by Schubert's last and greatest string quartet. Keeping its expansive proportions in perspective is never easy: the Henschel chose to omit the first movement's exposition repeat, emphasising the thematic contrasts and harmonic richness in this most radical of extended sonata designs from Schubert's last years. The Andante found a workable accommodation between its plaintive main theme and the powerfully rhetorical episodes that waylay its progress, while the scherzo unfolded with appropriate emphasis on its teasing rhythmic interplay – the trio lacking nothing in easeful warmth. In its oddly discursive manner, the finale can seem an anti-climax, but the Henschel once again found the balance between its obsessive formal backtracking and underlying buoyancy that sees it through to a decisive close. Throughout the performance, passing intonational flaws were as little compared to the cohesiveness of ensemble and the assurance with which the musicians projected this most orchestrally-conceived of chamber works. An all-round success for the Henschel Quartet.' Richard Whitehouse
Wigmore Hall Concert
The Strad
Wed, 2008-10-01
Erwin Schulhoff wrote the first of his five string quartets in 1924. In the hands of the Henschel Quartet, performing at the Wigmore Hall on 23 July, it emerged as an engaging and ultimately unsettling work. The second movement has an edge of sardonic comedy in its lyrical, eccentric melodies, wonderfully characterised by violist Monica Henschel-Schwind and cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshoj in particular. The last movement is grimmer fare, with insistent, oscillating minor thirds and sustained, discordant lines – beautifully controlled here – fading to nothing. Violist Kazuki Sawa joined the quartet for the belated world premiere of Max Bruch´s String Quintet in E flat major, which the players tackled splendidly, steadily building up passion in long lines over undulating textures in the slow movement and maintaining clarity in what could easily have become a textural fog. Leader Christoph Henschel scurried about brilliantly in the virtuosic writing of the finale. Their subsequent performance of Schubert´s late G major Quartet was highly coloured and very powerful, but it had `interpretation` written all over it and never really settled down. The first movement was virtually an operatic scena, but the finale was a blazing, white-knuckle ride.
Henschel Quartet’s powerhouse debut at UCLA!
Los Angeles Times
Tue, 2009-02-24
This is, no question, one of the best groups in the world, a great string quartet, and its debut here was long overdue. The program ended with Beethoven’s Opus 127, the first of his late quartets, and this performance's Beethovenian heft was extraordinary. So too was the delicacy when that was needed. And so too was the ethereal quality, which is essential to making late Beethoven make sense. For all his railing gainst the heavens, Beethoven always lands on the side of the angels. I don’t know of any string quartet as capable as this one of reaching the opposite extremes of bluntmuscle and airiness. The Scherzo sounded as advanced as Bartók. Imagine, if you will, Arnold Schwarzenegger dancing on the head of a pin, and all the implications thereof, and you get an idea of the Henschel’s accomplishment in achieving late Beethoven complete. The energy in this early quartet is raw and thrilling. The Henschel’s performance was commanding, making a gripping case for Schulhoff. The Music Guild Caught a Big One
Admirable
New York Times
Wed, 2010-04-21
The Henschel Quartet, made news last month when it performed for Pope Benedict XVI at his residence in Vatican City. On Sunday afternoon the quartet turned up at a bona fide New York mansion, the Frick Collection, for a demanding, stylistically varied program. Its musicians performed early-20thcentury scores by Erwin Schulhoff and Samuel Barber, and standard repertory works by Haydn and Schumann. The players moved easily among the four composers’ styles. But the most transfixing aspect of their performance was a hefty tone, both individually and as an ensemble. In solo passages, each produced a seductively buttery timbre, and throughout the performances Mr. Beyer-Karlshoj drew a sound so uncommonly fat that his instrument often sounded more like a double bass than a cello. The quartet began with the least familiar of its four works, Schulhoff’s Quartet No. 1 (1924) and made a powerful case for it. Schulhoff, a Czech composer who died at the Wülzburg concentration camp in 1942, was an eclectic, and in this quartet, chunky Stravinskian rhythms and acidic figures that would have been at home in Bartok are offset by unabashedly tonal, folksy dance themes. The Henschel players melded these influences seamlessly and gave the amalgam an otherworldliness that, in the finale, took on a compellingly eerie quality. Haydn’s Quartet in G (Op. 76, No. 1) is immeasurably sunnier and lighter in texture than the Schulhoff, but it, too, draws amply on rustic folk rhythms. The flexibility in tempos that the ensemble brought to the opening Allegro con spirito was admirable, as was the humor it brought to the Menuetto, with its whimsical pauses and stark dynamic contrasts. But appealing as these lively movements were, the heart of the performance was the Adagio sostenuto, played here serenely and with a choralelike solidity. Barber’s Quartet and Schumann’s Quartet No. 1 were contributions to this season’s celebrations of those composers’ anniversaries: Barber’s centenary and Schumann’s bicentenary. The Barber had the most inconsistent performance here: its opening movement sounded slightly shrill at times, and more Ivesian than it should have. But the Adagio, in its original single-string texture, was a thing of beauty. The Schumann, which closed the program, was couched in warm hues and played with irresistible energy and high spirits. Alan Kozinn
Appealing
SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL
Fri, 2011-01-21
This recital by the Munich based Henschel String Quartet was one of those rare concerts that I didn’t want to end. Adding to the appeal was a cleverly devised programme of familiar and unfamiliar music with contrasting styles, spanning a hundred and forty years. It has been a rewarding experience following the burgeoning career of the Henschel Quartet unquestionably one of the most distinguished on the scene today. Consisting of three siblings and their long-time friend many quartets would have been left reeling from having to make a late replacement for regular second violinist Markus Henschel. Stepping into the breach so capably was Peter Clemente of the Clemente Trio from Munich. After such a setback one can only guess at the amount of preparation that was required by the quartet to perform at such an elevated level. The opening work of the evening, Mozart’s popular String Quartet, K.458 known as ‘The Hunt’ was played with the craft and assurance that I have come to expect from this ensemble. Outstanding was the welcoming charm they wrapped around the Menuetto and the rapt intensity injected in the ebullient closing movement Allegro assai. One of many victims of the Nazi holocaust the Prague born composer Erwin Schulhoff was killed at the Wülzburg concentration camp, in Bavaria. Virtually forgotten Schulhoff is a major twentieth century composer who is beginning to get the recognition that he deserves. The Henschel, who are doing sterling work championing Schulhoff’s music, elected to play Schulhoff’s String Quartet No.1 from 1924. Undoubtedly presenting some challenges for the general listener the rewards of this remarkable work are well worth the extra degree of concentration. Holding the attention with an iron grip the second movement Allegretto con moto was as much a visual experience as well as a listening indulgence. I was struck by the myriad of fascinating often ethereal technical effects together with contrasting melodies ranging from the glorious to the grotesque. Vitally rhythmic, Slovak folk rhythms infuse the third movement Allegro giocoso alla slovacca played with supreme confidence by the Henschel who savour every note. A much loved staple of the chamber music repertoire, Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor, D.810 ‘Death and the Maiden’, closed the recital. By 1824 Schubert had become aware that he was seriously ill and the spectre of death seems to hang over the score. In the opening movement the Henschel displayed the essential elements of strength and defiant high drama. With the Andante a theme and set of variations based on Schubert’s song ‘Death and the Maiden’ the players shroud the gentle beauty of the writing with a liberal covering of melancholy. Swirling like a dance of death the short Scherzo contained torment and menace. Unremitting in its driving rhythms and energy the Henschel bring the Rondo, Finale to its electrifying and exhausting conclusion. To have played an encore would have served only to break the spell. Noticeable throughout was the astonishing unity of the Henschel that allows broad dramatic contrasts replete with fine detail. Showing remarkable conviction and supplying intensity and ardour in rafts Christoph Henschel is one of the most exceptional quartet leaders around. Michael Cookson
Discography
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy - Complete String Quartets
Disk: 1 1. 1. Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardente Reinhören 2. 2. Canzonetta: Allegretto 3. 3. Andante espressivo 4. 4. Molto allegro e vivace 5. 1. Allegro vivace assai 6. 2. Allegro assai Disk: 2 1. 1. Adagio - Allegro vivace 2. 2. Adagio non lento 3. 3. Intermezzo: Allegretto con moto - Allegro di molto 4. 4. Presto - Adagio non lento 5. 1. Allegro vivace 6. 2. Scherzo: Assai leggiero vivace Disk: 3 1. 1. Molto allegro vivace 2. 2. Menuetto: Un poco allegretto 3. 3. Andante espressivo con moto 4. 4. Presto con brio 5. 1. Allegro assai appassionato 6. 2. Scherzo: Allegro di molto
Ludwig Van Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18/6 + 127
1. 1. Allegro con brio 2. 2. Adagio ma non troppo 3. 3. Scherzo: Allegro 4. 4. La malinconia: Adagio - Allegretto quasi allegro 5. 1. Maestoso - Allegro 6. 2. Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile 7. 3. Scherzo: Vivace - Presto 8. 4. Finale: Allegro The record has by BBC Music Magazine been awarded with five stars ***** for both 'Performance' and 'Sound'!
Magdalena Kozena: Songs
Alberto Ginastera: String Quartets Nos. 1 und 2
1. String Quartet No. 1 op. 20 2. String Quartet No. 2 op. 26
Press Service

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Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Representation:
DK, NO, SE, FI

Members:
  • Christoph Henschel (Violin)
  • Monika Henschel (Viola)
  • Catalin Desaga (Violin)
  • Mathias Beyer-Karlshøj (Cello)