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Danish String Quartet’s New Album, “Prism V”

Released on ECM New Series, the album includes works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Webern


The Danish String Quartet (DSQ) comprises violinists Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and Frederik Øland, violist Asbjørn Nørgaard, and cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.

The quartet’s Prism V is the final installment in its PRISM series, which launched in 2018 following its creation in 2016. Prism V includes Bach’s “Contrapunctus 14” from The Art of the Fugue and his chorale prelude Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 in F major, and Webern’s String Quartet of 1905.

DSQ’s previous recordings for PRISM have addressed the influence of late Beethoven on Shostakovich, Schnittke, Bartók, and Mendelssohn. 

“A while ago we found ourselves slightly bored with much of the classical programming including our own programs, there was too little connection,” Nørgaard told The Violin Channel in 2019, when Prism II was released.

“In 2012, we had a collective ‘aha-moment’ when Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic performed Ligeti’s Atmosphères and continued, attacca, with Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin,” he continued. “Their way of connecting these masterworks and creating a new framing of the music was done elegantly and with the highest respect,” he added. 

This experience formed a significant part of the PRISM project, where DSQ aimed to shed new light on old works by framing them in different ways. Prism V was recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, and produced by Manfred Eicher

“The music on these albums is delightfully complex and open-ended…A late quartet by Beethoven is an incredibly intricate piece of art,” the quartet explained for Prism V. “One can spend a lifetime zooming in on every inch of the score and still find new details. Each bar, each moment is a maze of possible interpretational paths.”

To purchase and listen to the album, click here.

DSQ’s new album release coincides with its North American tour which began on April 13 and will last throughout the year. It will perform in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Washington Performing Arts Center.

DSQ made its first recordings as the Young Danish String Quartet in 2006, which gained them international recognition. Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin joined the quartet in 2008, while the other three Danish members had played together as teenagers. In 2001, the DSQ was trained by Tim Frederiksen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

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