Schubert String Quintet
HERE is something enthralling. Schubert's great String Quintet is one of the glories of 19th-century chamber music, a work that breaks boundaries in eloquence. But it's also a minefield, an expressive honey trap that can lead string players into massive self-indulgence. This new version by the superb Arcanto Quartet, joined by second cellist Olivier Marron, comes at it from a different direction. Everything is light and understated. The first movement is swift and flowing, with the heavenly second theme almost playful. And the ultimate trap, the wondrous slow movement? Sublime? Yes. Time-stopping? Actually, no, because the players keep the inner parts active, imparting an almost restless quality to the music. The third movement is a mix of the boisterous and the reflective, while the finale heads off at a delightfully gauged canter, seamlessly morphing into a trot before the breathtaking race through the coda. Nothing superficial in this thinking-person's Schubert Quintet.