Daniel Müller-Schott / Vogler Quartet

Schubert: String Quintets, D956 & D87

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Signed first to RCA in the '90s and then to Nimbus in the first decade of the next millennium, Germany's Vogler Quartet was neither gone nor forgotten when this recording was released on Hänssler's Profil label in 2006 coupling Schubert's late C major String Quintet with his early E major String Quartet. Unfortunately, while many of the Vogler's previous recordings had been unqualified successes, these performances seem a bit too sketchy both technically and interpretively to be successful. Too often, the ensemble seems strained, the intonation seems slapdash, the tempos seem frayed, and the point of view seems diffused and dispersed. Still, although the quartet is altogether too lightweight, there is no doubting the depth of the commitment in the quintet's sublime Adagio or the power of energy in the quintet's Scherzo, and for these movements at least, the Vogler comes close to success. Nevertheless, with dozens of better recordings of both works available, it's hard to recommend either performance except to hardcore fans of the group, particularly when Hänssler's sound is neither as clear nor as clean as a 2006 digital recording ought to be.

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