William Bennett / Arthur Grumiaux

Mozart: Flute Quartets; Oboe Quartet; Clarinet Quintet; Schubert: String Quintet

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Of the names listed on the front of this album, that of violinist Arthur Grumiaux is doubtless the most immediately recognizable. Grumiaux's playing has long been recognized for an amazing synthesis of extreme technical precision and tremendous musicality. Fortunately for listeners, he also had a propensity to keep company with other musicians who shared his talents and respect for the musical integrity of the score. Whether it was the members of his own Grumiaux Trio (heard here in Mozart's Four Flute Quartets) or accomplished soloists like oboist Pierre Pierlot or clarinetist George Pieterson, Grumiaux's chamber music endeavors are as pleasing and significant now as they were when first recorded. This collection of Mozart and Schubert is no exception. Recorded over the course of a decade, sound quality across each of the performances is remarkably even, always clear and warm. Although Grumiaux is (and was) the "biggest name" on the program, he is a dignified chamber music performer in the truest sense of the medium; never once is his sound given undue dominance over the rest of the performers. The only thing lacking from this two-disc collection is a set of more informative liner notes that includes some historical information about the performers themselves. Apart from that, listeners will be captivated from beginning to end with this technically and musically superior chamber music set.

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