CLASSICAL: NEW RELEASES

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The Independent Culture
Beethoven/Schubert: String Quartets Hagen Quartet (DG)

Be warned. Some of the music-making on this disc is quite shocking: the way the Hagens tear into Beethoven's Op 95 F minor quartet will not be to everyone's taste. They are much more attuned to Schubert's last quartet, the G major, which responds better to their highly aggressive attack. A frustrating disc in many ways, but with flashes of great playing. HH

Leifs: Orchestral Works Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Shao (BIS)

Rugged, dramatic, beautiful, terrifying - words that apply to Iceland as much as to the work of Jon Leifs (1899-1968), the father of its music. This disc shows what an uncompromising composer he was. Of the two works from the 1930s, the Organ Concerto is all explosive energy, the Beethoven Variations pastorally serene. The two later works, Fine II and Dettifos, reveal the depth of his attachment to his homeland and its people. Powerful, striking performances. HHHH

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