℗ © 2014 Sono Luminus
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Ayano Ninomiya, violin I
Janet Ying, violin II
Phillip Ying, viola
David Ying, cello
The Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in today’s world. Now in its second decade as a quartet, the Quartet has established itself as an ensemble of the highest musical qualifications in its tours across the United States and abroad.
The three string quartets were all written in just a few weeks in the summer of 1842, and his writing for strings is, for better or worse, rather pianistic. It is unfortunate that some would dispatch the significance and beauty of these works so easily. Though there are passages and textures in the quartets that are clearly influenced by keyboard technique, this is glorious music. The imagination and wit, vitality and virtuosity, subtlety and nuance, and heartfelt yearning and emotion that are displayed throughout the quartets are enough to be as satisfying as any of Schumann’s music. Each one of them is a joy to perform.
Since all of the quartets were written in just a few short weeks, it is interesting to take them (Op. 41, Nos. 1, 2 and 3) as a set and consider the similarities and differences between each of the corresponding movements. For example, all three of the first movements are primarily gentle in nature and convey a sense of unfolding, though there are dynamic and energetic moments within. None of them begin with forceful, dramatic intensity to grab an audience; instead, Schumann uses an intimate quality and a sense of drawing the listener in to define the emotional world of these quartets. Two of the three first movements also end in a wonderfully quiet and peaceful way.
Recorded July 17-20, 2013 at Sono Luminus in Boyce, Virigina.
Producer: Dan Merceruio
Recording, mixing and mastering engineer: Daniel Shores
Editing engineers: Daniel Shores, Dan Merceruio and Adam Olson