Spanning 6 CDs and featuring many a consummate performance, this release celebrates the genius of Schubert through detailing all of his late chamber music.
The compilation begins with the two piano trios, works of immense virtuosity whose fluent melodies betray the composer’s affinity for song. Moving on to the quartets, we encounter expressive depth, melancholy and drama; while the Quartettsatz movement in C minor displays all the hallmarks of Schubert’s late style – including dark lyricism and shifting chromaticism – D810 ‘Der Tod und das Mädchen’ takes the idea of tragedy to a whole new level, its second movement’s melody lifted directly from the identically titled song. The String Quintet follows, a work written just two months before Schubert’s death and which replaces the conventional second viola part with that of a cello. Last, but by no means least, the Octet; composed in 1826, this piece was conceived in a response to a commission by the renowned clarinettist Ferdinand Troyer.
It’s astonishing to think that Schubert was not taken seriously as a composer of chamber music during his own lifetime. Brimming with melodic invention and documenting a composer who was at the height of his all-too-brief career, these works are superlatively performed by the Amsterdam Trio, Brandis Quartet and Berlin Philharmonic Octet.
- Recorded 1995–2009.
- In his last years (though he was only in his late twenties…) Schubert achieved a unique musical form in which structure and content fuse into an inseparable unity. His later works present a soul in anguish, darkness and light alternate, terror and happiness go hand in hand. The three late string quartets (counting among the best and most famous quartets ever written), the two piano trios, the string quintet of heavenly proportions and the octet all reveal grand musical structures, laden with a depth of feeling which belies the comparative youth of the composer.
- Excellent performances from the Klaviertrio Amsterdam (Spanish classical magazine Scherzo: “The best recording available”), the German Brandis Quartet and the famous Berlin Philharmonic Octet.
- Contains liner notes on the composer and the music.