S0121. WIENER KONZERTHAUSQUARTETT (Kamper, Weis, Kwarda & Hermann), w.Paul Badura-Skoda (Pf.): Trout Quintet in A; w.Gunther Weiss: Quintet in C; w.Wlach, Öhlberger, von Freiberg & Hermann: Octet in F (all Schubert). (Austria) 2-Preiser 90566, recorded 1950-51. - 717281905664
"The composition of Schubert's early quartets reflects an intention different from that of his late works: the former were not yet intended for the concert hall but rather for his immediate family. In the early 19th century, the private performance of string quartets was a distinctive feature of musical life in Vienna. As in no other European city, the rising middle class had increasingly taken up the string quartet, which up to that time had been the province of the nobility. The string quartet was practically a fashion accessory, marketed by Vienna's flourishing publishers. From the beginning of the century until the year of Schubert's death, 1828, some 70 composers were represented by more than 400 works, most of them forgotten today. Their primary models were the quartets of Joseph Haydn, but at the same time they also produced more popular compositions. These ranged from quartets that were easy to play and more musically accessible to difficult works in which the part of the first violin required extreme virtuosity. In addition, there were arrangements for quartet of orchestral and opera music, and this was very popular music for playing at home. The music was performed by quartet ensembles that were frequently formed within a single family, as was the case in the house of Schubert. Here we have a remarkable set of beautiful performances."
"I have always loved the playing of the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet - so full of warmth, so gemütlich and always vibrant and alive. There is a never a ho-hum phrase. This fine recording is no exception. Leopold Wlach (1902-1956) was principal clarinetist of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1928-1953. Some may argue that his playing was a little too self-conscious but the fluidity of his phrasing, the dark and sombre beauty of his tone and his intense musicality have made this perhaps his finest recording, enjoying rather legendary status.
The Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet was formed in 1934 by the four players on this recording who were then members of the Vienna Symphony. In 1938 they all moved to the Philharmonic and they continued to play together as a quartet until 1958. From 1958 forward there was a series of personnel changes and the group finally disbanded in 1967 with the retirement of Anton Kamper."
- Progress Hornsby, MetroGnome, 30 Nov., 2010