Magazine article Gramophone

Hummel: Schubert: Hummel String Quintet, Op 87

Magazine article Gramophone

Hummel: Schubert: Hummel String Quintet, Op 87

Article excerpt

Hummel * Schubert

Hummel String Quintet, Op 87

Schubert String Quintet, 'Die Forelle', D667

The Music Collection

Chandos Chaconne [C] CHAN0800 (65' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Period instruments in Schubert and Hummel chamber recordings are still relatively thin on the ground. And this pairing of works sporting the same line-up of violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano makes perfect sense; in fact it's surprising that the dramatic and inventive Hummel Quintet isn't better known.

So, on paper at least, there's plenty going for this new reading. Yet reservations occur almost immediately. The first problem is the unflattering acoustic (it was recorded at Finchcocks Music Museum). The second is that though the fortepiano itself has plenty of character, Susan Alexander-Max's playing of it can at times sound a little effortful, particularly in the effervescent writing in the Allegro vivace and Scherzo of the Schubert. You're made a bit too aware of the sheer technical difficulties of this music, especially when compared to Vincent Coq in the Trio Wanderer's reading or Alfred Brendel (both of course on modern instruments). …

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