Gernsheim’s String Quartets Vol. 1 • Friedrich Gernsheim’s chamber music figures significantly in his extensive oeuvre, where it occupies a position next to his symphonic music. Along with his works scored for piano and his diverse sonatas, it is above all in the genre of the string quartet that Gernsheim achieved great merit. On Vol. 1 of our complete recording the Diogenes Quartet interprets his first and third quartets. It is primarily in the latter work that he demonstrates his masterful command of compositional technique. The first movement requires performers with a firm metrical feel; agogic insertions occasion the blurring of time structures. The last movement is a variation movement and again a masterpiece, and after a lento it leads to a powerful and sonorous conclusion. Once you’ve heard these string quartets, you’ll wonder why after the leaden years prior to the war and then after it this genius never again returned to the concert halls. Why was there no Gernsheim revival, when Mendelssohn and Mahler revivals took place in German concert halls? Our four previously released CDs and these quartets by this composer demonstrate that quality could not have been the reason for his exclusion.
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