Spohr: Quartets Volume 15 (String Quartets Nos. 19 & 22) (Marco Polo: 8.225981)
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Spohr was a prolific quartet composer, his body of work forming an important collection. His Quartet No. 19 is the fourth of his Quatuors brillants, chamber concertos designed to allow the first violinist, Spohr himself, to flaunt his virtuoso credentials. He ensures, however, that flourish is balanced by expressive themes and songful warmth. Quartet No. 22 is one of his greatest compositions, notable not only for its broad, sweeping, even sensual themes tinged with pathos, but for the masterful use of counterpoint and virtuoso elements within a magnificently unified whole. The American Record Guide wrote of the Concertino String Quartet's recording of Nos. 9 and 17: 'Their tuning, intonation, technique, ensemble, sensitivity, and depth of expression result in total musicality.'