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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good HIP Schubert, 6 Jun. 2013
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert: Piano & String Trios / Piano & String Quintets / Octet / Etc. (Audio CD)
I have been enjoying this very cheap set much more than I had expected that I would. Of course, both van Immerseel (pianist) and Bylsma (cellist) are well known and frequently well worth hearing. But reviews of these discs when they came out separately generally found them good but a little wanting in character in repertoire that is blessed with many wonderful recordings. I was soon finding, though, that much of the music making here doesn't lack character at all.

Indeed, for a start, we have lovely accounts of the two piano trios and the Notturno. The balance changes with a forte piano and HIP practice so that the sound is much more led by Beths' lively and imaginative violin than it is by the piano. This brings its own rewards and in any case the performances are filled with character and traverse the various moods that characterise these pieces very effectively. Certainly, I prefer these to the Beaux Arts' versions.

There are parts of the Trout Quintet that are as good but the whole is perhaps less distinguished. Still, the HIP balance brings freshness and the performance has maintained my interest (and joy) over several hearings even though this is a work I know almost too well. There are many lovely and imaginative moments.

The Arpeggione gets and attractive but not really very special account - Bylsma's lovely tone is the main attraction, I suppose. The quartet and the string trios get lovely performances - very musical, full of life and with many lovely touches. Similarly, the Octet here is fine but a little dull to my ears.

And, saving perhaps the best until last, the great Quintet gets a wonderful account. Lively but romantic and "big" as well and with HIP-clarified textures, this is one of my favourites at the moment. It is perhaps the biggest surprise of the set.

This set is a bargain - you can afford a number of performances that you will enjoy as alternatives to your favourites or simply a cheap way of getting some really lovely chamber music into your library.
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