Magazine article Gramophone

Schubert: String Quintet

Magazine article Gramophone

Schubert: String Quintet

Article excerpt

Schubert

String Quintet, D956

Kuijken Quartet; Michel Boulanger vc

Challenge Classics [F] [SACD]. CC72647 (53' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

You might well assume that the name 'Kuijken' would mean this is a period-instrument account of Schubert's mighty Quintet. But no: two generations of that remarkable musical dynasty opt for modern instruments, joined by first cellist Michel Boulanger. The first thing to say is that there's no sense of four plus one that can afflict some line-ups (the Takacs and Ralph Kirshbaum, for instance). The approach in this new recording is inevitably and refreshingly period-inflected. The slow movement, for instance, is strikingly sparing in its vibrato, the sustained chords of second violin, viola and first cello unflinching in their plainness. Their speed proves much more sustainable than the Diotima/Gastinel reading--a blot on that otherwise fascinating landscape. This new version is a world away from the Pavel Haas, who are somewhat slower in this Adagio but who hypnotically lead you onwards through Schubert's vast structure. When it comes to the tumultuous F minor section the PHQ find a raw agony that is matched by few--certainly the Kuijken are lower-voltage here. …

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