The matchless Takács Quartet
return to Schubert. Their first disc on Hyperionhis Death and the Maiden and Rosamunde quartetsreceived unprecedently lavish critical acclaim, acknowledging a new modern benchmark for these works.
Now they turn to perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful of all Schuberts chamber works, the String Quintet
completed six weeks before the composers death. Schubert included a second cello in the texture, creating a sumptuously warm sound, a cradling intimacy. Here the Takács players are joined by cellist Ralph Kirshbaum
. Also recorded here is the Quartettsatz
: a fragmentof the highest qualityof a String Quartet in C minor abandoned by the composer.
"A Schubert quintet from arguably the greatest string quartet before the public today will have been long awaited, and it is characteristic of the Takacs that they have held off until now, presumably after many performances with their chosen cellist colleague, Ralph Kirshbaum. The recording wonderfully vivid and present is all that one expects from the producer, Andrew Keener, and the quality of the playing and musical insights is superlative. Written during the last year of the composer s brief life, this awesome work remained unpublished and unperformed until 22 years after his death like the Great C major Symphony, an Alpine peak that none of Schubert's contemporaries dared to climb. Lasting five minutes short of an hour, it remains one of the largest of chamber works, and most dramatic in conception: the ailing composer seems riven with turbulence in the opening allegro ma non troppo and the defiant scherzo, yet calmly serene in the outer sections of the sublime adagio. The sonorities the Takacs players and Kirshbaum bring to this great music are quasi-orchestral, but they convey the intimate pages of the score in a manner that is both soul-baring and deeply moving. The famous Quartet Movement from an unfinished work in C minor has rarely been delivered with such febrile intensity." PICK OF THE WEEK
--Sunday Times, 28/10/12
The issue with the Quintet crystallises when you turn to the Quartettsatz. Suddenly all the things that make this ensemble so remarkable are on display:the confidence to take risks, the spontaneous-sounding rubatos and the independence of each player while sharing a collective vision.recommendable. --Gramophone, Christmas'12
This is exactly the kind of aristocratic, intellectually commanding playing you would expect of the Takacs Quartet. Performance ***(*) Recording ***(*) --BBC Music Magazine,Jan'13
One of the Top 10 Classical recordings of 2012 --Sunday Times