An intense, tightly wound Rasumovsky plus expressive contemporary response

Aris Quartet: Beethoven, Resch

Aris Quartet: Beethoven, Resch

The Strad Issue: September 2021

Description: An intense, tightly wound Rasumovsky plus expressive contemporary response

Musicians: Aris Quartet

Works: Beethoven: String Quartet no.7, op.59 no.1 ‘Rasumovsky’. Resch: String Quartet no.3 ‘Attacca’

Catalogue number: GENUIN GEN21736

Now in their twelfth year together, the musicians of the Aris Quartet have won most of the young-artist prizes and bursaries worth having, and their 2017 album of op.131 and the Third ‘Rasumovsky’ raised expectations which this account of op.59 no.1 satisfies from the edgy momentum of the opening bars. The pure intonation and direct appeal of their approach to Beethoven’s mesto mood in the Adagio anticipate the great outpourings of solitude in Bellini and Berlioz, answered but not resolved by the surging euphoria of the finale.

Such a risky but precisely calibrated take on the First ‘Rasumovsky’ is prefaced by Gerald Resch’s newly composed response to the piece, transforming Beethoven’s material more or less explicitly into four continuous movements – as the ‘attacca’ subtitle implies – without courting pastiche or parody. This is not Resch’s first engagement with his Viennese Classical heritage, after a brief and ingenious variation on Schubert to complement the ‘Trout’ Quintet (Pond and Spring, recorded on CAvi). The tautly drawn nerves of the Aris’s Beethoven find an expressive match in the belated expressionism of Resch’s classically balanced quartet writing. The well-judged, detailed but not analytical recording and usefully unpretentious booklet notes by Resch are further assets to an album worth noticing.