Leipziger Streichquartett / Andreas Staier

Brahms: Piano Quintet

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There are two surprising things about this Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm recording of Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor by the Leipziger Streichquartett and Andreas Staier. Of course, it is not surprising that the sound is clear, clean, vivid, and immediate; that's the way MD&G recordings always sound. And of course it is not surprising that the performance is emotionally compelling and technically flawless; that's the way the Leipzig Quartet always plays. What is surprising is that Staier is such an accomplished pianist; as a player better known for his harpsichord and fortepiano recordings, to find that Staier's tone is warm, his touch is muscular, and his technique is completely idiomatic is really quite surprising. And what else is surprising is how short this disc is: less than 40 minutes is truly quite surprising, and even a little shocking, coming from MD&G. With nearly 40 minutes to be filled, surely there was some other work that could have accompanied the Quintet? Taken on its own merits, this is still a wonderful recording. But a filler would have been nice.

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