by Jarrett Hoffman
Robert Schumann wrote his three string quartets in a span of less than two months during the summer of 1842. We think of such intensely productive times as manic, especially for Schumann, who is now thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder. But in some ways, the music of Op. 41 belies that.
In the Dover Quartet’s collection of all three works — released in fall 2019 on Azica Records and recently nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance — the ensemble captures not just remarkable bursts of energy, but more often patient and poised writing from a mature Schumann.