Thursday, 7 July 2016

Schubert - Late String Quartets and Quintet - The Lindsays

Rating: 5/5

An excellent set

This is a really excellent set - four discs of some of Schubert's finest and most affecting music played by one of the great string quartets of the last 40 years. The music itself is simply fantastic: Schubert's wonderful last three String Quartets - the A minor "Rosamunde" D804, the D minor "Death and the Maiden" D810, and the great G major D887 - plus one earlier quartet, the brilliant single movement "Quatettsatz" D703 and of course the sublime String Quintet in C, D956. It is utterly captivating and wonderfully varied with limpid beauty in the famous Adagio of the Quintet, drama in the famous opening of "Death and the Maiden" and aching melancholy in the Minuet of the A minor "Rosamunde" quartet, for example. For me, Schubert is at his best in his chamber music and this selection represents some of the cream of it.

The performances are extremely good. Intonation is generally very sound, which cannot always be said of The Lindsays by any means, and their empathy with and interpretation of the music is excellent. They play together with a superb understanding and produce something really special in places. This has been my favourite version of the String Quintet for many years, and every movement in this entire set is really involving and rewarding. I have versions of two of the Quartets which I marginally prefer to these (Quartetto Italiano for the A minor and the Takacs Quartet for Death and the Maiden, if you're interested), but I have owned the original issues of the discs in this set for years, and I am still extremely fond of them and play them regularly and with great pleasure.

You simply can't go wrong with this set. It's an absolute bargain and you get a wealth of truly great music in excellent performances. Very warmly recommended.

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