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Thread: Franz Schubert: String Quintet

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    Default Franz Schubert: String Quintet

    Channel Classics CCS SA 36215, release date 2015. Admittedly, I am a Rick Stotijn fan and his works with the double bass. In this performance (SACD Multichannel), the bass gives the entire piece weight and depth. I was especially thrilled with the last minute of track 4 (finale Allegro). WOW! Make sure your subwoofers can handle the deep bass notes with good transients. I listened to the Tokyo String Quartet version (HMU 807427, SACD Multichannel) as they used more familiar instruments as a comparison. Each recording is excellent in their own right. Either one, in my opinion, does great justice to this work and I'm happy to listen to them both. But, as I said, Rick Stotijn's bass makes this recording transcend usual chamber music and provides some added excitement that is well worth a listen.

    Marcus
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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Try this one. It's even better.

    41zDst0257L._SY580_.jpg

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    I like the Recordings of the Hagen Quartett with Heinrich Schiff and of the Quartetto di Cremona with Eckard Runge very much. Certainly there are a lot of good recordings by different ensembles - all different but excellent. The String Quintet and the Trout Quintet are, anyway, my favourite pieces by Schubert - along with the Arpeggione Sonata (when played on a real arpeggione).

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    Here a recording played on period instruments:



    L'archibudelli, on period instruments
    Vera Beths - Violin
    Lisa Rautenberg - Violin
    Steven Dann - Viola
    Kenneth Slowik - Cello
    Anner Bylsma - Cello

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    This performance with L’ Archibudelli is included in a 5-cd set with the piano trios, trout quintet, and octet. Hours of beautiful music-making, HIP-style.

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    Last edited by Art Rock; Jul-22-2021 at 20:46. Reason: profanity in embedded video

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    I’ll forgo state of the art sound, and listen to Casals ‘52. My other favorite is ABQ and Schiff.

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    I rarely have a single favorite digital era recording for any piece of music, since I don't believe in definitive recordings. Yet, in regards to Schubert's String Quintet in C, D. 956, I do have a stand out performance. & it's not a recording that everyone knows about, either--in fact, it came with my BBC magazine subscription back in the late 1990s, as a 'free' CD. The performance is by the British Vellinger Quartet and cellist Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio. What I like about this performance is that they offer an appropriately 'classical' interpretation--unlike some of the well regarded mono and earlier stereo era quartets, who play the quintet in a more unrestrained, post-romantic style that Schubert likely wouldn't have recognized. & yet, at the same time, the Vellinger Quartet manages to bring out all the depth of emotion and passion within the Quintet, as well, which is no small feat for a classically oriented interpretation.

    The performance used to be available to listen to on You Tube, but unfortunately, I can't find it anymore. Why the Vellinger Quartet--which was formed in the early 1990s--never became better known is puzzling. They did record briefly for ASV at one point, but then ASV went out of business. So, perhaps they couldn't find a new label after that, & disbanded? If so, that's a pity. IMO, they were(are?) exceptional musicians, & obviously Bernard Greenhouse thought so, too, to have been willing to record this work with a then unknown or lesser known group.

    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Stri.../dp/B008HIP7GE
    https://www.discogs.com/sell/release/7437436

    Among the older era recordings, there are two that have stood out to me: First, a strongly characterized 1963 Soviet era Melodiya account by the Taneyev Quartet with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who was then in his prime as a cellist (before he became a conductor). The Russians offer a bolder, more passionate conception of the work, although the playing is bit rougher and less refined than the best digital groups (& the Melodiya sound isn't exactly ideal, either, but it's okay). In my view, it's the best of Rostropovich's three accounts of the Quintet: the later ones being with the Melos Quartet and Emerson Quartet on DG. I own this recording on a 1974 Westminster Gold LP, so I'm not sure if it has been released on a single CD nor not? I do recall that there were plans for a DG release at one point, but complications arose and, if memory serves, it was only ever released as part of a DG Rostropovich box set. Fortunately, you can listen to the performance on You Tube (& if you do, note the comments written below by the late cellist Lynn Harrell): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaFa4_obzCw.

    Secondly, there's an exceptional live account from the Marlboro Festival on Sony, from 1986 (so it comes in better sound than you'd normally expect from this venue), which featured violinists Pamela Frank & Felix Galimir, violist Steven Tenenbom (of the Orion SQ), and cellists Peter Wiley and Julia Lichten--a wonderful group. IMO, their performance is more together, ensemble-wise, and better intoned and more classically conceived than the more famous Pablo Casals version with the Vegh Quartet, which I consider overrated. For me, the Marlboro performance is one of the finest accounts of the Quintet on record, with one of the most beautifully played adagio movements I've heard, and besides, it all sounds a lot more Viennese than Rostropovich & co. (who I like for other reasons): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoAT412mahs. (By the way, there's also a highly regarded older recording from The Hollywood String Quartet, on EMI Testament, which I've not heard myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdHe6WhONpU.)

    If that's not enough, there are three other digital era recordings that I'd also recommend (since tastes tend to vary): they are (1) a 1993 Decca recording by the original Takacs Quartet, with cellist Miklos Perényi--whose playing I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R4PZwnojmA (I should add that The new Takacs Quartet has re-recorded the String Quintet with cellist Ralph Kirschbaum, for Hyperion, but I've not heard it); (2) a 1981 Decca recording by the Fitzwilliam Quartet, with cellist Christopher van Kampen, which has now been reissued on both the Eloquence and Presto Classical labels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owcs_yz4HyI, and (3) an EMI recording by the Alban Berg Quartet (who excelled in Schubert), with cellist Heinrich Schiff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9BaFfNp9Es. I won't try to rank them, but all three performances are first rate and can be spoken of as being in the same league with the Vellinger Quartet/Greenhouse recording.

    So, those are my top six recordings of Schubert's String Quintet in C, D. 956, as played on modern instruments.

    In regards to period & HIP performances, L'Archibudelli's recording with cellist Anner Blysma has already been mentioned and it is excellent & worth hearing, I agree. I also found the HIP recording by the Arcanto Quartet, with cellist Olivier Marron, fascinating, as well, since they use little vibrato, and give highly detailed, nimble, and well articulated performances that will surprise people that think they know this work well (so be prepared to be challenged and to have your preconceptions shaken up a bit). While the Arcanto Quartet doesn't play on period instruments, both Sepec and Queyras have extensive experience within the period revival, and play like it (so it can sound like they're playing period instruments as times): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OCbY6LIOBU.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-11-2021 at 01:16.

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    Like the 15th quartet (that I reviewed on here today) there are stacks of D956 Quintet performances (I'd guess around 80 or so old, OOP or new) and quite a lot of very fine ones. I tend to play a few more than others but ive not heard the majority of them so perhaps I should do one of my massive reviews in the next few weeks and see if i can unearth a gem? That free BBC one sounds intriguing, btw, Jos.

    Jos rattled through a few recordings of interest and I'd add in a few more recommendations in the form of the terrific Orpheus / Wispelway, the impressive Takacs / Kirschbaum, the Leipzigers (I forget who with) and the aforementioned Auryn/ Poltera. With so many to go at I really should have a go at this one some time. There's also the 'legendary' Hollywood Quartet recording but ive never heard that one so i couldnt tell you what it's like.
    Last edited by Merl; Feb-11-2021 at 01:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    I rarely have a single favorite digital era recording for any piece of music, since I don't believe in definitive recordings. Yet, in regards to Schubert's String Quintet in C, D. 956, I do have a stand out performance. & it's not a recording that everyone knows about, either--in fact, it came with my BBC magazine subscription back in the late 1990s, as a 'free' CD. The performance is by the British Vellinger Quartet and cellist Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio.
    I agree with you - this was my first recording of the Quintet, and is still one of my favorite versions, along with Rostropovich/Taneyev (I also like MR's recording with the Melos, which is in much better sound).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    There's also the 'legendary' Hollywood Quartet recording but ive never heard that one so i couldnt tell you what it's like.
    Another favorite. In fact, this is among my favorite CD's - the coupling, Verklärte Nacht, is also terrific.

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    The 1952 Casals is, IMO, one of the all-time great chamber music recordings. Before I heard it I had thought of the Quintet as a great work but not even one of Schubert’s best. But it really opened up my eyes to the infinite, eye-watering beauties of this music. It’s a spiritual experience, the kind of performance that is so spontaneous so as to seem utterly inscrutable. Their Adagio and third movement trio holds me in a stupefied trance.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

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    BTW, there's an older thread on the quintet (started before I joined TC) that has some solid recommendations too - See the link below. I forgot to drop in a word for the excellent Pavel Haas recording too (that's paired with a super DATM). The last one I played from my collection was the Chilingirians with Jennifer Ward Clarke. That's a fine one too.

    Schubert's String Quintet in C, D.956

    61FbXkJgy5L._SY400_.jpg

    Edit: I've just totalled the number of recordings and i'm already on 92 and there's probably quite a few I've missed off my list. Gulp. This is a project for the summer. Hahaha
    Last edited by Merl; Feb-11-2021 at 18:51.

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    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    Josquin thanks for reminding me about the Vellinger BBC MM disc - I will look in the shoe boxes which house my BBC discs to find the disc and give it a spin over the weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    (I also like MR's recording with the Melos, which is in much better sound).
    MR? millionrainbows?

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