Atlantis Ensemble

Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet, Op. 44; Franz Schubert: "The Trout"

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There are many remarkable things about this disc coupling Schumann's Quintet for piano, two violins, viola, and cello with Schubert's "Trout" Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass -- but perhaps the most remarkable is the sound of Anne Trout's bass. Recorded in 2002 along with the rest of the Atlantis Ensemble by Peter Watchorn and Joel Gordon, Trout's brief bass solos are amazingly immediate and astoundingly realistic. While the ensemble balances are otherwise well judged, in those passages Trout's bass is right there in the room next to the listener.

But that's only perhaps the most remarkable thing about this disc. There's also the robust and spirited performances by the Atlantis Ensemble, an international chamber collective led by Dutch violinist Jaap Schröder and American cellist and fortepianist Enid Sutherland and Penelope Crawford. Playing two of the most joyous works in the chamber music repertoire, the Atlantis Ensemble delivers technically skillful and infectiously cheerful performances. And then there's the wonderfully apt inclusion of a slyly witty reading of Schubert's "Trout," the song from which he took the theme for the variations in the quintet, by Dutch baritone Max van Egmond accompanied by Crawford. Taken altogether, this is as enjoyable a period-instrument recording of these works as has ever been released.

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