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Schubert: String Quintet CD


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Product details

  • Performer: Heinrich Schiff
  • Orchestra: Alban Berg Quartet
  • Audio CD (5 Oct. 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00002439F
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,667 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Allegro ma non troppo
2. II. Adagio
3. III. Scherzo (Presto) & Trio (Andante sostenuto)
4. IV. Allegretto

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E.J. Zuiderwijk on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD
This recording of Franz Schubert's Quintet in C was my introduction to chamber music. My version is the original from 1983, then issued under the EMI Digital label and one of the earliest CDs with classical music. Hence it predates Amazon by two decades and shows my age. The current version on offer is a re-issue from 1998.

The CD was a birthday present, accompanied by the memorable remark that, although the giver wasn't "too keen" on Schubert in general, this was "acceptable". But then again, my friend wasn't too keen on Vivaldi either but had at least 5 (vinyl) records of the Four Seasons, in search of the perfect performance.

I too have now several renditions of the Quintet, including an excellent one by the Lindsays, but this recording by the Alban Berg Quartet and Heinrich Schiff remains my favorite.

The work was Schubert's last; he finished it two months before his lamentably early death in 1828 at the age of 31. There is a note by the composer that "rehearsels will begin shortly" but the first public performance was 22 years later. Thus, it is highly likely that he has never heard his creation played in full, which puts us in a privileged position.

"Der Franz" takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. After a few bars of the opening you know: this is going to be good. The coffee gets cold. The second movement is a revelation. A slow lingering melancholic theme winds itself into your mind and unstoppably detaches you from your surroundings. Halfway the flow is interrupted by a spell of anxiety, as if the dream has turned into a nightmare, but tranquility returns. Then, just when you have completely left the planet, you're being brought down to Earth by the brisk scherzo and after the cheery finale you'll be completely refreshed and geared up to tackle whatever it is that you do next.

There are not many pieces of music that do that. A great buy and a great present.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 13 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This has long been the established top recommendation for Schubert's greatest chamber work and I very much doubt whether anyone coming new to the work would find fault with it. However, there are one or two considerations that might give the experienced listener pause: first, as it was amongst the very first chamber music recordings to be released in digital format, there is an element of shrillness about the sound and subsequent versions have greater depth. Secondly, as was the custom of the time - this was recorded in 1982 - the first movement repeat is not taken, Thirdly, although it is currently available cheaply, there is no coupling .

Interpretatively, I hear very little difference between the playing hear and my favourite version from the Ensemble Villa Musica on Naxos, but the latter wins regarding all three of my reservations: the sound for Naxos is superlative, the repeat is taken and there is a bonus in the form of the admittedly slight but pleasing String Trio D. 584. Otherwise, the approaches of both are very similar although the EVM marginally more lyrical and expressive.

In short, this remains an excellent recording but does not necessarily exceed the competition for the reasons I give above; there are, of course, many other recordings by other great ensembles in superior sound which I have not discussed,confining myself to comparison with own preferred version. The best historical account by far remains the 1951 mono recording by the Hollywood Quartet but this music deserves finest sound and that is what the general listener demands.
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By K. Stephens on 4 Dec. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is without a doubt the very best recording of the Quintet.
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