One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quintet in C, D956 [56:53]
Quatuor Diotima; Anne Gastinel (cello)
rec. July 2013, Theatre Auditorium, Poitiers, France
NAÏVE V 5331 [56:53]

This is a big, rich, fully romantic reading of Schubert’s string quintet, almost entirely the way I like it. There are generous, even luxurious touches throughout, starting with the first movement’s recap. Before starting, the performers take a generous pause and we hear the preceding music still resonating through the wood of their instruments. The two cellos sing gorgeous duets. Indeed, everyone has a terrific tone and enormous stage presence. The five players sound more than five, like an entire string orchestra, but they also sound like five people who could legitimately be touring soloists. A choral analogue might be the Tallis Scholars. Does that make sense? 

If I have a criticism, it’s that some things are a little bit slower than ideal. In the first movement, this actually goes over well. The finale’s pacing may or may not be to your taste. The sticking point is the adagio, where everything’s a lot slower. It’s seventeen minutes against the usual thirteen or fourteen. I got used to it, but not everybody will, and I don’t prefer it.
 
So this is not a first-choice account but it is extremely good and a recording I’ll be keeping. This is not said lightly. Schubert’s string quintet is so important to me that I toss all manner of recordings at the first sign of a flaw: Alban Berg Quartet with Heinrich Schiff (flat sound), Artemis Quartet with Truls Mork (insensitive), Belcea Quartet (ditto). Really the main reference for me right now is the Raphael Ensemble on Helios, with the Cleveland Quartet and Yo-Yo Ma an acceptable replacement. The Quatuor Diotima and Anne Gastinel take a solid second or third place, on par with Cleveland/Ma or the Vogler Quartet on Profil. Cleveland/Ma is one of the few other albums where the bonus cellist’s name is as big as the quartet’s.
 
Even as an mp3, which is how I acquired this (ClassicsOnline), the sound quality is nothing short of stunning. Every player is presented naturally but flatteringly, and if they were less than outstanding tonally you would know it. The unusually slow adagio makes this an odd duck, but a duck I’ll be keeping. Who knows; maybe someday my ears will grow accustomed to the slow pace not just in the outer movements but in the central ones too. Then the Quatuor Diotima and Anne Gastinel will have produced not an odd duck but a beautiful swan.
 
Brian Reinhart 


Masterwork Index: Schubert string quintet