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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent set, 22 April 2010
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
This is a really excellent set - four discs of some of Schubert's finest and most affecting music played by one of the great string quartets of the last 40 years. The music itself is simply fantastic: Schubert's wonderful last three String Quartets - the A minor "Rosamunde" D804, the D minor "Death and the Maiden" D810, and the great G major D887 - plus one earlier quartet, the brilliant single movement "Quatettsatz" D703 and of course the sublime String Quintet in C, D956. It is utterly captivating and wonderfully varied with limpid beauty in the famous Adagio of the Quintet, drama in the famous opening of "Death and the Maiden" and aching melancholy in the Minuet of the A minor "Rosamunde" quartet, for example. For me, Schubert is at his best in his chamber music and this selection represents some of the cream of it.

The performances are extremely good. Intonation is generally very sound, which cannot always be said of The Lindsays by any means, and their empathy with and interpretation of the music is excellent. They play together with a superb understanding and produce something really special in places. This has been my favourite version of the String Quintet for many years, and every movement in this entire set is really involving and rewarding. I have versions of two of the Quartets which I marginally prefer to these (Quartetto Italiano for the A minor and the Takacs Quartet for Death and the Maiden, if you're interested), but I have owned the original issues of the discs in this set for years, and I am still extremely fond of them and play them regularly and with great pleasure.

You simply can't go wrong with this set. It's an absolute bargain and you get a wealth of truly great music in excellent performances. Very warmly recommended.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Excellent, 13 May 2008
By 
Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
As it says on the front of the neat little box you receive "an obvious first choice".

The 4 CDs contain recordings from 20 years ago in fairly early digital sound, not "mucked about" by excessive processing (I like old-fashioned stereo as I only have two ears),and you get a decent booklet too.

CD 1 actually has the sublime String Quintet, CD 2 Quartets 14 & 12, CD 3 Quartets 13 & 8, CD4 Quartet 15.

This is pretty much all you need by way of Schubert quartets (and quintet) and I can't see anything better coming along. Better hurry up as I think that the company that produced these recordings has gone!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Divine Compilation of the Lindsays and Schubert, 27 Feb 2011
This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
As an American with great love for the Lindsay Quartet, I was quite sad trying to sort through the used market of ASVs 1980s releases, most of which have long since been deleted from the catalog. I wistfully stared at the old ASV website, wishing the classical music market wasn't being swallowed up by a few giant corporate conglomerates. The Lindsay releases, then, must be like the equivalent to the golden ark hiding in the giant warehouse of government crates.

Who knows how long this box will be available? I'm not a big fan of digital downloads, be it my terrible track record with computers. There's something wonderful about the tangible record/CD. Maybe it's something about the circular shape? Circles bear some resemblance to music in their mystical beauty, after all. 4CDs, 3 hours and forty-six minutes of music. Quartets 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, and the divine string quintet in C, written weeks before his death. Jump on this deal before something else happens to bury the ark completely out of reach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lindsay Quartet - Great Schubert Performances, 7 Oct 2010
By 
L. Stein - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
The Lindsays really do get inside of Schuberts creation and inpiration and these are very well recorded. I believe these to be the same recordings that were on the original ASV label, a label that has probably suffered significantly from the economy. But this has always been one of my favorite labels and I will be very sad to see it go.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who could ask for more?, 12 April 2012
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
Given the range of competition - both ancient and modern in this repertoire it is difficult for the novice in this area to decide where to pitch their funds.Having read the helpful customer reviews on Amazon (for which I say 'Thank you')and a similarly informative article on Music web by Michael CooksonI though it was time to make a decision.

Well now that this brilliant 4 CD set has arrived and is currently ensconced on my player I can cheerfully concur with fellow Amazonians.It is hard to imagine that some of these works where written when Schubert was only in his late 20's such is the degree of maturity aligned a sense of acceptance of things if not resignation, present in much of the music. These performances are richly expressive and full of life.The Lindsays understand Schubert and his oeuvre.There is joy and deep feeling, along with contemplative and vivaciousness.All human life is here in these beautiful works.The group play with an integrated sense of purpose, phrases are clearly defined and there is energy and commitment aplenty.

The recording itself is realistic and detailed.There is is little hint that you often get of the 'glassiness' of early CD productions - all surface sheen and no real depth or warmth.So overall then this collection is great value for money.The music and performances are of course a given.Other commentators will have their favourite versions of particular pieces,but I like the heartfelt way the Lindsays approach Schubert and the fact that this is an unusually consistent collection.In other words, where else could you get such great music at such a reasonable price! The sound recording is very acceptable and the sleevenotes informative and well written. The box (and this is not always the case in these sorts of sets)is solid and will stand up to wear and tear.

Top recommendation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Match - Lindsays and Schubert, 15 Jan 2012
By 
This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
I have owned most of these recordings on individual discs from ASV. Prior to my experience with the Lindsay Quartet, I owned and am partial to the Amadeus Quartet. Especially is this true of Death and the Maiden. It seems as if one either loves or hates the Lindsays. They play with an individuality and feeling that elicits these sort of comments. One reviewer wrote that the Lindsays seem to find weirdness in whatever they play.I think I understand what that reviewer had in mind, but I could not disagree more with his assessment. It is obvious that they play with great emotion. It is equally true that they have a depth of understanding and feeling for Schubert that shines through in these recordings.The quintet is a timeless piece of music, and the Lindsay version can move me to tears. The tempi they choose seems to me to be spot on. They do not loiter about their business, neither do they rush through the material. The recordings themselves from ASV are lovely. I have a high end stereo, and my Magneplanars do strings with an uncanny realism. I appreciate the 'you are there' effect that ASV gives. So many digital recordings are just that - digital. These have a purity of tone that one ascribes to analogue, neither too harsh nor rolled off in the highest register. Certainly, there are many choices for these beautiful chamber works. Emersons, ABQ, Amadeus, and Takacs Quartet, which is an excellent group (they deserve their own review), as well as many fine older recordings by great quartets from the past. I do not have the audacity to say that the Lindsays are the best, but they are my favorites. I am glad to have the privilege to own these great recordings by a great artist, and given the treatment they rightly deserve by a great quartet. I will miss the Lindsays. I am from the States, so please forgive my English.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great value for money, 20 Dec 2009
By 
F. Ledwith "ideas enthusiast" (Isle of Bute, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert: The Late String Quartets; String Quintet (Audio CD)
If you are reading this presumably you are thinking of buying the 4 cd set of these late wonderful string quartets/quintet. If you want the whole set at a very reasonable price then this is for you: I doubt you would get a better all round performance for the money. However if your interest is mainly is the string quintet, which is a great star among the stars here, then I think you need to look further. It is a pity that this heart-stoppingly beautiful piece is, in my opinion, the worst performance of the set. For some reason the Lindsays use a lot of bowing very close to the bridge which produces a very harsh sound which does not fit the mood of the piece. In addition the slow movement in particular is badly recorded. The beauty of this movement needs a rich sound texture and a good contrast between the bowed notes and the pizzicato. In this version the pizzicato in the upper voice (?second violin) is dreadfully 'tinny' and the cello pizzicato is muffled so that much of the impact is lost. If you want a top rate version of this quintet then the version by the Belcea quartet is as good as it gets and I would highly recommend it: the second cello is beautifully integrated into the ensemble.

Thus to get the very best I think you would need to buy the Delcea version of the quintet and this 4 CD set. The rest of the set range from good, to very good to excellent. The 'Death and the Maiden' quartet is as dramatic and thematically tight as any I have ever heard and is given an excellent performance. The no 15 string quartet, which is an amazing mixture of the dark, dramatic and the dancing/jolly, benefits from very careful use of lush bowing with appropriate use of bowing close to the bridge to make a contrast between the voices: this works well here but not in the string quintet for no obvious reason. Then you have 3 other quartets (though one is quite short) in the set which are well worth the time to get to know.

I would recommend that you get the set for the richness of the overall offering. If you read the sleeve notes you will realise what an achievement they represent from a composer who was dying in poverty and in great pain from syphilis but who just kept on writing magnificent music to the end. The string quintet is the last piece that Schubert wrote: he completed it weeks before he died and is indescribably good in itself so the defects in the recording make it worth it worth hearing rather than a fantastic listening experience.

Overall, in all the works, there is no sign of Schubert wanting to get the pieces finished as quickly as possible. On the contrary, in many of the movements, we seem to have reached the end, with the penultimate chord played but then the music takes off in new directions. As the notes state, many of the pieces were completed in astonishly short times. This set then is a great tribute to a widely noted, but from the evidence of this set, an under-rated composer. If you want to complete the experience of all of his late, great works, then buy the set of the last 3 piano sonatas played by Alfred Brendle. Then you would have a feast of music which is a manifestation of the triumph of a human spirit over adversity.
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