Despite the presence of three members from the Guarneri Quartet and Emmanuel Ax as pianist, I can see why RCA relegated this reading of the Trout Quintet to a super-budget line. The playing is note-perfect but without charm--where is the smile Schubert clearly wanted us to have as we listened? I don't know why the chemisty isn't there. Ax went on to participate in probably the best modern 'Trout' with Yo-Yo Ma on Sony, and bass player Julius Levine had already appeared on a famous version from Marlboro with Rudolf Serkin on Sony. Either one is preferable to this dry, foursquare effort.
Better is the Arpeggione Sonata, warmly played by James Levine and Lynn Harrell. They sound much happier than the earlier group, but again, there are finer readings on CD that display more intensity and commitment--Yo-Yo Ma has one on the same CD as his 'Trout.' In the end, even though the cover promises much, what's delivered is fairly disappoointing.