While that is the fact of the matter, I got to know this music in its quintet form long before I heard or was especially aware of its source; it is thus unsurprising that I find it fits the five strings like a glove, especially in this performance.
The very opening sounds terse and raw, while the Klenke Quartett see the swifter music that follows as edgy rather than consoling. The punctuating silences are telling. Their period practice approach to the spare, yet soft-hearted Andante conveys both elegance and fragility. In the Menuetto in Canone the stark dissonances that peep through the textures seem unusually modern in this reading, almost at odds with the sound of the instruments producing them. The variations in the Allegro finale are by turn grandiose, unsettling, graceful and quixotic.
But he leaves one in little doubt as to his view of the stature of its two companions in this middle group.
String Quintet No.3 in C major, K.515 (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)
Nor do these players hold back; they take the opening at a fair lick that never seems rushed, while subsequent episodes in the Allegro are imaginatively contrasted in terms of pace, texture and dynamics. This is a rounded, lived-in reading, simultaneously intimate and symphonic. Its thirteen minutes plus fly by — I defy any listener not to smile. In the context of the whole work, the Menuetto Allegretto is enigmatic and seems a little out of place, while the measured interplay between violin and viola in the Andante at times borders on a quiet ecstasy.
The busy Allegro finale is delightfully unfussy here. She links the life-affirming countenance of K to The Marriage of Figaro , an idea made manifest in the shaping and layering of this performance.
String Quintet No.3 in C Major, K by W.A. Mozart on MusicaNeo
The G minor Quintet K is the dark heart of the cycle. The Klenkes give us something nagging or troubling rather than despairing, communicating a sense of anxiety bubbling away beneath the restless surfaces of the Allegro.
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The chordal interjections at the outset of the Menuetto Allegretto are appropriately gruff and bellicose, while its mournful Trio presents an unsettling contrast. They are more concise and their formal compression is matched by seemingly more lightweight expressive content.
But the diffuse, fragmented Larghetto opening to K is executed with great care and attention to its minutest details, illuminating an episode which provides a telling counterweight to the almost disposable nonchalance of the succeeding Allegretto section. The serene, airborne development section of the Adagio is exquisitely rendered.
The Menuetto Allegretto is a model of refined grace and deceptive simplicity, a description which could equally be applied to the miraculous Allegro finale, which bounces along on a footpath of contrapuntal ingenuity.
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With the E flat major quintet K Mozart created one last chamber masterpiece, which from the opening hunting signal of its Allegro di molto seems to have been deliberately fashioned as a final tribute to his spiritual forefather Haydn. The musical substance is tellingly deployed most democratically among the five players throughout its four movements. It is a terrific performance, and in this work, for me at least, this refined German group trumps even the fine efforts of the Nash Ensemble.
It completes a musically satisfying and spaciously recorded survey which certainly matches the best available sets of these timeless masterpieces. I am certain these discs will continue to provide unalloyed joy as the years take their inevitable toll on this particular world-weary reviewer.
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Mozart Quintet K. 515
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