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Record date : 23 July 2021

String Quintet in C major D. 956
(Martin, Bouchkov, Imai, HelmersonKobekina) 

Piano Quartet in E-flat major Op. 47
(Pappano, Jansen, TamestitMäkelä) 

Schubert’s String Quintet, with its warm two-cellos sound, was completed just two months before his death in 1828, aged 31. A constant succession of changing textures, harmonies and melodic directions, it spans the emotional gamut from last rites to almost barn dance. His trademark smiling through tears quality is also ever-present, beginning with the first movement’s constant flits between major and minor, and climaxing when the fourth and final movement’s apparently triumphant concluding shout is snatched away by a grim, darkening of its final chord. Schumann’s Piano Quartet of 1842 begins with a slow introduction which later gets reprised at its original tempo, creating reflective interludes within the movement’s forwards pulse. After the Scherzo, a tender slow movement ends with a coda where the cello’s bottom string is tuned down a tone, to play a drone over which the others sing a meditative pre-echo of the finale’s three energetic opening chords.

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