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on 15 May 2011
I must confess I bought this disc on impulse rather than research. I am an admirer of Andsness and knew the Artemis Quartet were highly regarded so there was little risk involved. As proved to be the case.

The sound quality is almost brutally hard-edged. Can sound reproduction be too good? It makes the Schumann in particular sound rather objective and unsympathetic and I wondered whether this was the source of one reviewer's complaints of 'excessive speed'. I made direct comparisons with the well-thought-of version with Jando and the Kodaly Quartet and found little difference in the timings. The Kodaly version is warmer and more affectionate but by no means superior, just different.

This is an outstanding disc but the cool objective style arguably suits the Brahms more than the Schumann, but these reactions are personal. There is no detracting from the sheer quality of this disc.
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2013
well paced and succinct.
Can't agree with one reviewer's criticism as too fast - timings aren't everything.
Punchy and driving spring to mind - Andsnes adds his usual excellence to the wonderful Artemis Quartet.
A deserving award winning cd.
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on 25 August 2010
I bought this recording on the strength of the previous reviewer who found it "scintilating" and also as the recommendation of the BBC3 CD Review "Building a Library" prgramme. This was I may add from the database as I didn't hear the programme in which the Schumann Quintet was reviewed. I have to say that when I played the CD it was intensely disappointing. I've compared the timings for the various movements with other recordings and almost without exception those of Andsnes and Artemis Quartet are considerably faster than other performers. However the speeds are uncomfortably fast, although never at the expense of accuracy I acknowledge, and feel rushed. Only at one point, in the faster section of the second movement when the viola drums out the movement's main theme did I feel a strong sense of involvement. This movement is the emotional epicentre of the work and to me points to the mental distress that was eventually to drive Schumann to attempt suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine and end his days in an asylum. The dramatic changes in tempo and mood in this movement are not done full justice by the speed it is taken at in this recording.
I recently (August 2010) heard this work live at the cerne Abbas Festival by players of the Gaudier Ensemble with Susan Tomes as the pianist. It was one of the most intense and moving performances of any work I have ever heard and at the end I felt so emotional from the performance I could barely speak! If only the Gaudier or the Florestan Trio, both of which have Susan Tomes as pianist, would record this work, that would be the performance for me and fill all the gaps that Artemis and Andsnes left!
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This disc, recorded with considerable clarity in 2006, presents both these works from the heart of the Romantic period with considerable romantic drive as well as technical accuracy.

For those who view the term 'romantic' as implying warm emotions coupled with warm textures, this recording may prove to be rather challenging. For those who view the term 'romantic' as applying to a time when structural and textural resources in music were being stretched to create a new level of emotional response in listeners, this recording may prove to be very rewarding.

Schumann eventually committed suicide and it is reasonable to find elements of emotional instability in his music. Brahms too, resulting from an unhappy childhood, struggled with his emotional responses and this shows in his music which is full of tension which only slackens off in his later autumnal years.

Both of these works fall within the period when both composers were challenging new boundaries in music. This tension is apparent in these readings which are full of drive. This is not the same as speed, as their tempi choices fall within the range of other performers. What they have is a greater intensity through choices made about the degree of accenting and dynamics applied to musical phrasing. This is dramatic playing and, in that context, it is delivered with conviction and with skill.

I would suggest that this is a very fine disc which will appeal considerably to those who see these works as striving and as intense experiences. For those who see this music in that way I would suggest that the disc deserves to be given very serious consideration, particularly by those interested in comparative interpretations.
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on 10 October 2015
Am becoming a big fan of Brahms' chamber music. The Piano quintet is every bit as rewarding as the smaller ensembles. This recording is excellent and has the added bonus of the Schumann too. They lose a star for a slightly underpowered end to the finale but I've only listened to the download on my phone so far so that might be the medium and is a minor quibble. A match for pricier recordings 8n my view.
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on 16 April 2016
Excellent
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on 4 August 2010
Brilliant music. The scherzo absolutely scintillating. CAn lisen to this over and over again and recive greater shape and depth of sound.
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