- Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
- String quartet No. 3 in A major, Op. 41/3
The listener looking for smooth, sweet, and sincere recordings of Schumann's chamber music need look no further than this recording of the composer's "String Quartet in A major" and "Piano Quintet in E flat major" by the Takács Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin. The Hungarian-English-American quartet deploys its warm tone, lush ensemble, full sonority, and polished phrasing successfully here, wrapping the quartet in rich colors and refined balances, while the Canadian-American pianist brings his outstanding virtuosity and keen insights to the quintet. Unfortunately, neither the Takács Quartet nor Hamelin brings adequate energy to either work. This is clearest in the quartet's Assai agitato and closing Allegro molto vivace, and the quintet's Scherzo and closing Allegro, ma non troppo, where the music's headlong flight is retarded by the musicians' poky tempos. It is also apparent in the quartet's dour Adagio molto and in the quintet's dowdy In modo d'una marcia. Captured in ripe digital sound by Hyperion, these performances, though lovely, lack sufficient intensity and drive to make them wholly recommendable.