Claire-Marie le Guay / Mandelring Quartet

Schumann: Piano Quartet; Piano Quintet

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The Mandelring Quartet has made some fine recordings, but this disc of Schumann's Piano Quartet and Piano Quintet is merely mediocre. The Mandelring, a polished ensemble with a crisp tone, a real feel for rhythm, and a strong sense of form, plays well, but it sounds unusually uncommitted here, as if the music doesn't mean that much. The opening Allegro brilliante of the Piano Quintet, with pianist Claire-Marie le Guay, is fast but not at all brilliant and seems positively lackluster, particularly in its wayward development section. The following In modo d'una Marcia is even more disappointing, especially in the central In poco largamente, which is less deeply emotional than drippingly sentimental. Most disappointing is the closing Allegro ma non troppo, which is lacking in drive from start to finish but especially in its closing fugue. Audite's super audio sound is bright.

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