Notes and Editorial Reviews
One of the distinguishing features of Schubert's C major Quintet is its scoring for two cellos instead of the more usual two violas. It seems likely that Boccherini's and Georges Onslow's preference for the second cello influenced Schubert's choice of this instrumentation, whose greater expressiveness and richer sonority are particularly suited to this music.
The present issue from the Guarneri Quartet with Bernard Greenhouse, one of a number of new recordings of the Quintet, emphasizes the presence of the second cello by its rather forward placing The result is a stronger rhythmic drive, particularly in the more violent music, which provides a stronger contrast to the work's overt lyricism. This is nowhere more evident than
in the slow movement, where the development of the dialogue between first violin and second cello is played very convincingly. The powerful intensity of the Adagio's middle section, enhanced by the second cello's forward balance, finds a particularly striking resolution m the elaborated reprise. By contrast the Villa Musica Ensemble (Naxos (CD) 8550388), in a finely controlled performance, highlight the music's ensemble qualities with subtle shifts of texture.
In many performances the finale functions as a relatively light-hearted foil to the emotional intensity of the earlier movements. The present version, though full of panache, reveals this movement's different characters through craftsmanlike handling of texture and musical material.
The Guarneri's account, then, is fresh and convincing and avoids the extremes of tempo and balance of the Emerson's recent release with Rostropovich. The recorded sound is clear and positive.
-- GRAMOPHONE (10/1993)
Works on This Recording
Quintet for Strings in C major, Op. 163/D 956 by Franz Schubert
Bernard Greenhouse (Cello),
Arnold Steinhardt (Violin),
John Dalley (Violin),
Michael Tree (Viola),
David Soyer (Cello)
Guarneri String Quartet
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 06/1990
Venue: American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC
Length: 54 Minutes 5 Secs.
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