A fascinating Max Bruch world première is cause for celebration. Produced by the independent German-based Neos Classics label the Henschels recorded the disc at the August Everding Saal in Grünwald. A testimony to their assiduousness and sheer hard work on this project the release is a veritable delight. Comprising of three works the disc features the world première recording of Max Bruch's String Quintet in E-flat major together with Mendelssohn's two String Quintets.
With Bruch's E-flat major String Quintet the Henschels are joined on second viola by Japanese-born violist Kazuki Sawa. The whereabouts of Bruch's E-flat major String Quintet was not known for many years and thought lost. In the 1980s a hand written copy emerged in private hands and was subsequently bought at auction by a German music publisher in July 2006. In July 2008 the Henschel Quartet together with second violist Kazuki Sawa gave what was claimed to be the world première performance of the Bruch E-flat major Quintet at the Wigmore Hall, London.
For Mendelssohn's String Quintets German violist Roland Glassl joins the Henschels. Outstanding is the unanimity of ensemble and immaculate intonation achieved by the augmented Henschels. Devoid of any hint of ostentation there is a natural feel to their splendidly matched phrasing together with an insightful grasp of structure. As I have come to expect their careful use of vibrato and choice of tempi feels just right. Collectively the players profit from the wonderful timbre of their instruments.
I played this hybrid SACD on my standard players and was delighted by the clarity of sound and the excellent balance. Interesting and informative booklet notes add to this splendidly presented disc. This release is another remarkable artistic achievement for the augmented Henschels that should be snapped up immediately.
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