Classical; NEW RELEASES

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Hugo Wolf Complete Works for String Quartet

Auryn Quartet (cpo)

It took the tortured Hugo Wolf some time to conceive and then finish his Quartet in D minor, yet a magnum opus it is, cast on a symphonic scale and more than 45 minutes long. The German Auryn Quartet plays it with aplomb, too, with lavish gesture and superbly honed ensemble. With the additions of a rare Intermezzo and the delightful Italian Serenade, this immaculately recorded release does the business. HHHH

Beethoven 17 Songs

Iris Vermillion, Peter Stamm (cpo)

The last major works of Beethoven to be fully exhumed are his songs, which are increasingly being regarded as more than mere "occasional" pieces. This selection - including some real rarities - employs a soprano for songs which were intended for a male voice without any explanation as to why, but Iris Vermillion is in pleasing timbre and is sensitively accompanied by Peter Stamm. HHH

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