Hailed as “four of the best” by the British press after their debut at Wigmore Hall in London two decades ago, the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has celebrated a critically acclaimed career, establishing itself among the world’s premier string quartets with 20 years of international concerts and a large and diverse discography. Their extensive concert calendar has taken them to destinations throughout Europe, North and South America, as well as Asia. Lord Yehudi Menuhin commented: “I’d like to hear music always played as beautifully as you play.”
Although Max Reger's organ works are considered to be extremely important to the repertoire, the rest of his music is often ignored by both performers and consumers. His chamber music is a very special part of his vast output, and perhaps this recording will expose new listeners to some of its charms. The Clarinet Quintet is melodically strong, a reflection of Reger's consistently kind treatment of the clarinet. Berlin Philharmonic lead clarinetist Wenzel Fuchs shines alongside his colleagues, themselves principal string players of the orchestra performing here under the guise of the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin. Needless to say, their playing is excellent and idiomatic throughout.
"The Mozart and Beethoven were, of course, played with predictable beauty. But this Lutoslawski made the mind (and the ears) work double-time, where passive enjoyment was translated into absorbing excitement."