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An intelligent, rewarding and well-recorded programme from this superb German-based quartet. The main work, Tchaikovsky’s first quartet, comes at the end and is one of the finest recent performances on disc. Along with other short works by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Schnittke is a real rarity, a portmanteau set of variations on a Russian ‘folk song’ (actually written by Rimsky-Korsakov) that reads like a Who’s Who of 1890s St Petersburg. Recommended.

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