This edition of the Naxos Musical Journey
series takes us to the towns and countryside of Schubert's Austria set to the soundtrack of his Trout Quintet
, scored for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass. We begin in the spa town of Baden, renowned for its surrounding vineyards. The crisp picture with colours well defined, of houses with lime green walls, inns painted pink, cobbled streets, no litter and few cars makes it look like a desirable resort. The camera pulls back as the tempo of the music picks up to reveal the vineyards (poppies at the reprise) under leaden skies. The tempo slackens for the second movement set on the Salt Chamber Estate in Spring: buttercups, cow parsley and narcissi flower in the Alpine meadows criss-crossed by streams.
The "Scherzo" brings us to the resort of Steyr, where Schubert conceived the Trout on a walking holiday. The sun, now ablaze, shines brightly on pub signs a-plenty, guilds and craft shops. The fourth movement, "Theme and Variations", introduces the tune of Schubert's song, Die Forelle with an accompanying glimpse of a speckled trout in water so clear it could be drunk. The persistent rhythm of the finale accompanies a puffer train on the Steyr Valley Railway as it runs through woods and pastures. Then, as a coda to the journey, there's a one-movement Notturno accompanying pictures taken at twilight.
On the DVD: Schubert: The Trout Quintet plays without flagging of the separate movements, which are given separately under the "Travel Notes" section. Other extras include a handy biography of the composer and the origins of quintet. The soundtrack has been remastered in Dolby Digital and DTS surround. The music is played with much affection by the Ensemble Villa Musica. --Adrian Edwards
Schubert - Trout Quintet / Notturno