SPOHR: Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 49. Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 137. Concert Overture "Im ernsten Stil" Op. 126.
NDR Radio Philharmonic/Howard Griffiths, cond.
cpo SACD 777 178 TT: 68:40

BEETHOVEN: Quartet in F, Op. 59 No. 1 "Rasumovsky." Quartet in B flat, Op. 18 No. 6
Quartetto Italiano
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 175 TT: 68:18

SHOSTAKOVICH: Quartet No. 5 in B flat, Op. 92. Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108. Quartet No. 9 in E flat, Op. 117.
Mandelring Quartett
AUDITE SACD 92.528 TT: 67:54

Music of German composer Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859), who outside Germany was known as Louis Spohr, is gaining the popularity is deserves. He wrote nine symphonies (a tenth was not completed), sixteen violin concertos, thirty-six string quartets and much other chamber music along with several operas, oratorios and songs. Most of his elegant violin concertos have been recorded as well as much of his chamber music. cpo is doing their part to help the Spohr cause with their series of his symphonies and overtures. Their previous SACD of symphonies 1 and 10 was mentioned on this site (REVIEW); this is Volume II offering symphonies 2 and 8 along with a concert overture "in the serious style." These recordings are based on the new edition of works of the composer edited by Bert Hagels who wrote the informative program notes. Listening to this music you might think it was written by Schubert perhaps, a high compliment indeed. Performances are first-rate as is the sound. Recommended!

Pentatone has another classic in their issue of two of Beethoven's quartets recorded in 1972 (Op. 18/6) and 1973 in the Music Theater of La Chataux de Fonds in Switzerland. Quartetto Italiano was founded in 1945 and made superb recordings of the complete quartets of Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms and Webern. This issue is from their complete set of Beethoven quartets and it features the original players except for Piero Farulli, who replaced Lionello Forzanti in 1947. The group disbanded in 1980, but many of their recordings remain in the catalog and this issue, as originally recorded in four-channel sound, is a welcome addition to the catalog. This is as good as it gets for this repertory.

The Mandelring Quartet continues its series of the Shostakovich string quartets with this issue of Nos. 5, 7 and 9. As with their first volume, performances are excellent and, as usual with Audite, the recorded sound is excellent. Recommended.

R.E.B. (October 2008)