Schubert: "Trout" Quintet, etc.by Barbara Bonney
Some of Schubert's chamber music has a symphonic intensity -- the "Death and the Maiden" Quartet, for example -- while the rest often sounds like it was written for casual musical get-togethers. "The Trout" Quintet is of the latter type. Scored for the unusual combination of piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass, it has a relaxed and sunny disposition that rarely fails to delight performers and listeners alike. And before there was "The Trout" Quintet, there was "The Trout," the song, which shares the same tune. On this disc we get both. Soprano Barbara Bonney gives us the song -- and she sings it, um, swimmingly -- while five all-star instrumentalists gather to frolic in the rippling waters of the quintet. The fun these musicians had making this recording is perfectly obvious and absolutely contagious. As a bonus, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax play a charming sonata Schubert originally wrote for the arpeggione, an instrument that's perhaps best described as a bowed guitar. Since the arpeggione fell out of fashion almost as soon as it was invented, cellists have rushed to claim this work as their own; when you hear it, you'll understand why.
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