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This CD with … the first four string quartets reflects the interesting path of Rihm’s artistic development. The Minguet Quartet approaches the first two, shorter, works with audibly high concentration without relinquishing, in the frenzy of high-energy playing, their own cultivated sound born from quartet tradition. Here, Rihm’s third quartet, with its not unproblematic subtitle ‘Im Innersten’ (‘at the innermost core’), does not become self-indulgent navel-gazing, the display of sounding extremity. Here, music is made finely calibrated and with a very open ear for subtle nuances – not to forget crystal-clear intonation. The aspects of this music, i.e. its expressive force, its scintillating and incisive brightness, its shadowlike opacity, but also its yearning for romantic transfiguration or its deathlike silence – none of these ever become presumptuous or obtrusive. The listener is left to himself and can, so to speak, observe the baring of Rihm’s musical self from a distance.