David's Review Corner
, June 2020
Using two cellos in the String Quintet, instead of the traditional two violas, provided Schubert with a far greater potential for textural qualities and wider contrasts.
That haunting melody that forms the basis of the long opening movement—here played with the exposition repeat—is first entrusted to the first cello, shadowed by the second, and is a foretaste of the ground-breaking sounds he brought to the Quintet. The length of the work—some fifty-five minutes, much greater than most symphonies of that era, and as long as his ‘Great’elody giving way to anguish at the close of the first movement, here very well captured by the Israeli-based Aviv Quartet with Amit Peled as the additional cello. Schubert was coming to the end of his short life, sadness shading the following Adagio, bucolic vitality opening the Scherzo that returns after the sombre trio section. Even the term, Allegretto seldom lifts the dark cloud hanging over the finale. We go to the other end of his life for the relatively short four movement and compact B flat String Trio. Here the Aviv offer stylish playing that draws out the score’s gentle lyricism, with a bright and youthful Minuet to set the scene for a joyful final Rondo. Naxos already have a highly acclaimed 1991 coupling from the Villa Musica Ensemble, this new release offering a more refreshing sound quality from Switzerland. © 2020 David’s Review Corner