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Mozart: String Quintets / The Nash Ensemble

Audio Samples

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 1 in B flat major ("String Quintet no 1"), K. 174
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 2 in C minor ("String Quintet no 2"), K. 406 (K. 516b)
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 3 in C major, K 515
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 4 in G minor, K 516
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 5, K 593
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 6 in E flat major ("String Quintet no 6"), K. 614

Album Summary

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 1 in B flat major ("String Quintet no 1"), K. 174
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 2 in C minor ("String Quintet no 2"), K. 406 (K. 516b)
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 3 in C major, K 515
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 4 in G minor, K 516
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 5, K 593
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 6 in E flat major ("String Quintet no 6"), K. 614
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The relatively novel instrumental combination which Mozart used for his string quintets (employing two violas) seems to have been inspired by a work by his friend and colleague Michael Haydn. Throughout his life Mozart loved the dusky sonority of the viola, always his instrument of choice when he played chamber music with friends. Beyond that, prompted by Michael Haydn's charming, lightweight Notturno, he was evidently eager to explore a medium that enabled him to indulge his fondness for dark, saturated textures and rich inner-part writing. The complete String Quintets make up an enchanting body of chamber music, recorded here in a 3-disc set by the peerless Nash Ensemble.

'Magnificently played throughout - conversational, argumentative, profoundly expressive, witty - and rank with the finest ever committed to disc' (The Sunday Times)

'The four quintets are among Mozart's richest chamber works. The Nash Ensemble's survey of all six pieces ... is light in touch, with transparency of texture and clarity of part-playing given high priority' (Irish Times)

"It is universally agreed that the last five of Mozart's string quintets, after the youthful Quintet in B?, are among his greatest masterpieces. Yet while I have a large stack of recordings of the quartets, there are many fewer recordings of the quintets. (It's that pesky extra violist.) In my collection I keep coming back to two sets, that by the Budapest Quartet recorded in the 40s and in 1956, and the Grumiaux recordings from the early 70s. I thought the Budapest recordings were just about perfect until I heard the Grumiaux, which added a tonal opulence (and certain repeats) to the stylish, moving, and, when appropriate, lively playing of both groups. The Nash Ensemble is just about as good and the recorded sound is better. There are infinite small differences, and some larger ones. Grumiaux is, it seems to me, more dramatic: His group's playing is somehow more portentous in, say, the first movement of the great G-Minor quintet. Grumiaux's tone is more plangent than is Marianne Thorsen's, there and in the strangely melancholy adagio that begins the last movement. Thorsen is restrained, almost distant, and the effect is eerie. Both approaches are effective: Grumiaux seems passionate from the beginning and Thorsen seems to work into a passion from relative calm. I can imagine listeners preferring either; I am happy to have both. I certainly admire the restrained expectancy with which the Nash Ensemble begins the Quintet in D. They sound patient, perhaps, more so than Grumiaux. The quicker movements show how precise they are without being in the least fussy. They also always sound stylish, even elegant. Their ensemble works perfectly together and with a warm, engaging sound. I find them easy to recommend."-Fanfare

"These Musicians combine a historically informed sense of articulation and phrasing with a rich and vibrant sound. The recording is engineered in such a way that it is possible to hear all the voices individually...Each instrument makes a beautiful and characteristic round tone...The engineering choices work hand-in-glove with the interpretive choices of the musicians, and these choices seem to vary with the piece at hand, so in many ways this recording is ideal."-American Record Guide



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Works Details

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 1 in B flat major ("String Quintet no 1"), K. 174
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1773.
  • Running Time: 26 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1773

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 2 in C minor ("String Quintet no 2"), K. 406 (K. 516b)
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1787.
  • Running Time: 25 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1787

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 3 in C major, K 515
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1787

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 4 in G minor, K 516
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1787

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello no 5, K 593
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1790

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello no 6 in E flat major ("String Quintet no 6"), K. 614
  • Performer: Philip Dukes (Viola)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1791.
  • Running Time: 27 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1791