The music of German composer Kurt Albrecht (1895-1971) is at once modern and very much in the noble lineage of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. It balances compact, readily identifiable motives with sinuous, long-lined melodies in complex but lucid polyphonic interplay. The opening movements in these two superbly crafted string quartets (from the 1950s) are imposing in their austerity and logic, but the following slow movements in both works are serenely beautiful, infused with elegiac inwardness and restrained grief. The Second Quartet’s adagio in particular is haunting, built of arch-like chordal strophes that rise and then fall into poignant, gentle heartbeats that evoke the calm final moments of a human life on the verge of the infinite. The finales affirm the resurgent life- force in driving rhythmic intricacies that superimpose asymmetrical metrical subdivisions in brilliant contrapuntal overlappings. Albrecht’s quartets have the uncompromising integrity, contrapuntal mastery, architectural rigor, and deeply felt, humane emotion of the great German masters, and are brought to vivid life in these superb performances and detailed, truthful sonics (remastered from a 1970s LP) that will richly reward lovers of our era’s best chamber music. Available from recordsinternational.com.