Anne Gastinel / Quatuor Diotima

Schubert: Quintette à deux violoncelles

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Annotator Corinne Schneider here describes the Scherzo of Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 956, as "flamboyant" and "exuberant." Not everyone would use those words, but they're good ones to characterize the performance as a whole here by France's Quatuor Diotima, with cellist Anne Gastinel taking the second cello part (the quintet is for the unusual configuration of two violins, one viola, and two cellos). This is a richly colored, intense performance. The highlight of the whole thing is the slow movement, where the quintet manages the high-wire act of creating the transcendent near-stasis of the main material over its many minutes of development, and then brings the listener explosively back to the world of human emotions with an agonized performance of the movement's central section. The Scherzo, which can be jocular and folkish, is indeed here flamboyant and exuberant, and indeed, the work's Viennese good humor is somewhat deemphasized here: the famed second theme of the opening movement less sweet and more mysteriously allusive than usual. This is often a bold performance, but the relationships between its parts are all carefully worked out, and it convinces even as it surprises. Naïve's engineering team delivers top-flight support in a small auditorium that's perfect for the work.

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