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The Art of the Lindsays
CD 1
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
String Quartet in C major, K465 Dissonance (1785) [38.15]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quartet No.13 in A minor, Rosamunde D804 (1824) [34.05]
CD 2
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
String Quartet in F major (1902-1903) [28.42]
Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
String Quartet in E flat, Op.64 No.6 (1790) [18.37]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
String Quartet No.6 in F minor, Op.80 (1847) [24.49]
CD 3
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
String Quartet No.12 in F major, Op.96 (B.179) American (1893) [27.18]
Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
String Quartet in F minor, Op.95, Serioso (1810) [20.80]
Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)
String Quartet No.2 in D major (1885) [28.37]
CD 4
Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928)
String Quartet No.1 The Kreutzer Sonata (1923) [17.15]
Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998)
String Quartet No.5 (1990-1991) [27.57]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
String Quartet No.6, Sz.114 (1938) [30.41]
CD 5
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Quintet in A major, D667, The Trout (1819) [37.53]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115 (1891) [39.57]
The Lindsays: (Peter Cropper, violin; Ronald Birks, violin (all tracks except Schubert Quintet); Robin Ireland, viola (all tracks except Bartók); Bernard Gregor-Smith, cello)
Roger Bigley, viola (on Bartók only)
Kathryn Stott, piano (Schubert Quintet only); Leon Bosch, double-bass (Schubert Quintet only); Janet Hilton, clarinet (Brahms Quintet only)
rec. CD 1 Mozart: Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, UK, 27-28 January 1997; Schubert: Bishopsgate Hall, London, UK. No recording date given
CD 2 Ravel: Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, UK, 5-7 July 1994; Haydn: Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, UK, 26-28 April 1999; Mendelssohn: live, Blackheath Concert Halls, London, UK, September 1988
CD 3 Dvořák: Concert Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, UK. No recording date given; Beethoven: Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, UK, 25-27 June 2001; Borodin: Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth, Yorkshire, UK, 24-26 July 2002
CD 4 Janáček: Concert Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, UK. No recording date given; Tippett: Wigmore Hall, London, UK, 21-23 December 1992; Bartók: Henry Wood Hall, London, UK. No recording date given
CD 5 Schubert and Brahms: live, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK during The Lindsays weekend of farewell concerts, 29 July 2005 (Schubert), 30 July 2005 (Brahms).
SANCTUARY CLASSICS RESONANCE CDRSB404 [5 CDs: 72:22 + 72:18 + 76:33 + 76:11 + 77:53]
 


This is an excellent compilation of works from the Lindsays’ long and distinguished career. I also feel it would make a splendid introduction to newcomers to the joys of “chamber music”. A sort of “Everything you wanted to know about chamber music but were afraid to ask!” for those who are perhaps intimidated by the genre and don’t know where to begin. This very modestly (well under Ł20) priced set is an ideal start and can lead to a further exploration of this fine quartet, now sadly but sensibly disbanded after forty years!
 
There are those music lovers out there who found the Lindsays (named after the head of their Uni: Keele) too rough round the edges; well not me! I find their approach so enthusiastic and lacking in pretension. To hear them live has been one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had.
 
Mozart’s Dissonance caused quite a stir at its first performance with a novel sound. Mozart can be prettified but here we have fine honest performances and it’s a good taster for their six discs of Mozart quartets and quintets. The Schubert produces another excellent rendition worthy in my opinion to rank with the “Busch” and the “Vienna Konzerthaus” - To be reviewed at a later date, God willing! It’s a good introduction to Schubert quartets with the lovely Rosamunde theme in the second movement. Again, if you can warm to this marvellous music then go for the bargain set of quartets and the quintet (see review).
 
The set then goes on to a very fine performance of Dvořák’s American quartet. I know he wrote 14 but this one’s special. I’ve a few recordings of this work but the group produces a lovely sound and a real feeling of understanding the idiom. I have to admit I don’t play Serioso by Beethoven that often but this is a wonderful version - right up there with the Busch and Vegh readings. There’s the angst of mid-period Beethoven and a taster of what’s to come. The slow movement hints at the “late quartets” but also shows traces of earlier styles - even Handel.
 
The Haydn is marvellous; especially the minuet and I know that Robin Ireland was especially keen on their Borodin; you will recognize a melody from Kismet in the slow movement. I’m not sure their Ravel is the top version but it’s fine as is their live Mendelssohn. Disc 4 gives us more "difficult”pieces. I really enjoyed hearing them play Bartók live and the Janáček is a moving piece. I find Tippett less encouraging but if you do like it I know their recordings of the five quartets are very highly regarded.

The final disc was recorded at their farewells in Sheffield. The Trout was my introduction to chamber music at Leeds Girls Grammar School in Easter 1967 and is my favourite chamber piece. Of course I love Curzon with Boskovky and team and other fine versions but this one is fine and dandy. What a good idea to round things off with the marvellous Brahms clarinet quintet, one of his finest works. I saw them three times in their final year but not sadly at Sheffield.
 
I really can’t recommend this highly enough. It was a source of joy on our recent holiday and will make excellent Christmas presents. A really great advertisement for chamber music.
 
Not sure about the picture though ...
 
David R Dunsmore
 
see also review by Michael Cookson

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