Perfect Schubert, impeccably performed

Perfect Schubert, impeccably performed


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2022

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

I had planned to review something quite different this week, but the death of The Queen had me reaching for Schubert, who knew as much as any composer about end-of-life emotion. The quintet in C major – a Haydn foursome with extra cello – is Schubert’s last piece of chamber music, written in the year of his death, 1828, and submitted to a publisher a few weeks beforehand. The publisher sent a rejection slip…

Read on here.

And here.

En francais ici.

In The Critic

In Czech here.


  • David K. Nelson says:

    Perhaps the Quintet is not “funereal,” in the sense of a funeral march, but I agree with Arthur Rubenstein who felt that the Adagio was “like a serene and resigned entrance to death.” He wished to hear it on his own deathbed. I do not know if he got that wish.

    An older recording in terms of sound (1951) but the best one I know, and at least worthy of comparison to the best, would be the Hollywood String Quartet and Kurt Reher. Their choice of tempo for each movement strikes me as exactly right, something I cannot say of the Heifetz/Piatigorsky Concerts recording for RCA, in spite of its positive points.

  • Fernandel says:

    The Weller Quartet (with Dietfried Gürtler) remain unrivalled.

  • Graham Elliott says:

    My idea of a valedictory piece of Schubert is the fourth movement of the D959 piano sonata, which I posted on Twitter in her memory. A very long melody to represent her long service, and the resigned melancholy mixed with passion and some wistful humour. Twelve minutes of pure catharsis.