Arditti Quartet

Adès: Piano Quintet; Schubert: "Trout Quintet"

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It's not so weird a coupling, really. Aside from the odd time signatures and the disembodied modernisms, Adès' Piano Quintet is a fairly straightforward piece of music that is more or less comprehensible in terms of classical compositional techniques and tonal forms. Aside from the classical compositional techniques and tonal forms, Schubert's "Trout" Piano Quintet is a fairly eccentric piece of music with quirky themes and unexpected harmonies. Aside from the scoring, the biggest difference between the two pieces is that Schubert's quintet is lyrical, enjoyable, and instantly memorable, while Adès' quintet is silly, sappy, and probably forgotten before it's over.

The performances are both a bit weird but both are first-rate. The Arditti Quartet plays Adès' quintet with dedication, energy, and virtuosity while members of the Belcea Quartet plus double bassist Corin Long play Schubert's quintet with affection, enthusiasm, and commitment. As a pianist, Thomas Adès is more than persuasive in his own quintet and quite engaging in Schubert's quintet. While this shouldn't be the only recording of Schubert's quintet one hears, it will be a pleasant 41 minutes while it lasts. EMI's sound is clear and deep.

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