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Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828)
Quintet in A D667 "Trout"* [39.42]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
(1756 - 1791)
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade in G K525)** [17.50]
Guarneri Quartet
Arnold Steinhardt**, John Dalley (violins)
Michael Tree (viola), David Soyer (cello)
Plus Emanuel Ax (piano)*, Julius Levine (d/bass)
Recorded 23/24 May 1983 , 20/21 November 1980* RCA Studios New York City. DDD
RCA Red Seal 09026 63589 2 [58.12]

Crotchet Amazon USA  Midprice

This recording was originally issued in 1986 when LP, cassette and CD releases in harness were normal. To accommodate the LP format the coupling was then just under 59 minutes - and this re-release issued without any filler added looks decidedly un-competitive in today's market where the buyer is more and more selective.

This is unfortunate as any purchaser is unlikely to be disappointed by his choice. Releases of the Trout are many and regular and this, from an augmented Guaneri Quartet, is respectable and recommendable without it having that special spark that would be needed to place it near the top of the list.

Recordings of a work like the Trout always have a problem due to the difficulties of balance between piano and a small string ensemble. In this instance the engineers have avoided the pitfalls and have come up with a good balance. A fresh sounding, lively performance appeals with the important piano part played tastefully by Emanuel Ax and a pleasing degree of shading and contrasts from the strings. Good ensemble playing from a highly regarded group.

The String Quintet version of Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik makes an welcome second item. More normally heard in a chamber orchestra version, this minimised Mozart (an option from the time of its composition) is a refreshing change. To hear the five lines (two violin parts not a doubling) is a delight, and the 'authentic' movement of recent years must take some credit for the greater appreciation the reduction gives. One needn't be a supporter of all their views to appreciate that more clarity in our music is now the norm. One minor problem appears at the opening of track 8 - the minuet where there are some intonation failings from the viola that sound to me like a fault in the original recording and manifested themselves as slight squeaks. Tiny blemishes and certainly no reason not to buy this attractively compiled CD.

Certainly a disc to consider but there are better versions of the Trout to choose from.


Harry Downey


Harry Downey

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