Mstislav Rostropovich - Schubert: String Quintet In C D956 - LP

Mstislav Rostropovich - Schubert: String Quintet In C D956 - LP

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180-gram vinyl

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Since Schubert died so young, it is not surprising to be able to trace influences from his great predecessors and contemporaries in his String Quintet. In the first movement, a sonata form, for example, almost the entire development section consists of a single extended sequence in three modulating stages.

Schubert used the same organizational approach to excellent effect in the development section of the first movement of the Piano Sonata in E flat major, as one of the most important revisions of the early Piano Sonata in D flat major, on which the E flat Sonata is based. The same procedure, extended even further, also appears in the first movement of the Piano Trio in E flat ). His models in this regard may well have been the development section in the overture to Cherubini s most successful opera, Les Deux Journées (better known in German-speaking countries as Der Wasserträger), or the first movement of the Pastoral Symphony, one of Beethoven's most spacious middle-period compositions, and one which also frequently resorts to the slower harmonic rhythm so favored by Schubert.

The finale of the Quintet, a mixture of sonata and rondo forms, has a rather unusual development section between the return of the first group of themes and the more lyrical second subject. Schubert appears to have learned this relatively rare formal approach, which he used elsewhere (for example in the second movement of the A minor String Quartet, D 804), from the finale of Mozart s String Quintet in C major, K 515. In a letter sent from Zseliz in the summer of 1824, Schubert asked his brother Ferdinand to return the Mozart quintets which had been borrowed some time before from Josef Hugelmann.

A particularly noteworthy feature of the Quintet is the similarity in structural approach between the ethereal slow movement and the forceful Scherzo. Each has a middle section contrasting in striking fashion with regard to the character, tempo, dynamic level and register of the principal melodic ideas and tonal orientation. Each of the strongly contrasting sections begins a half-step higher than the ending of the primary section; and each makes important use of a figure with trills. At the conclusion of the finale, Schubert refers back to the earlier movements with trills and a half-step rise in the cellos).

There is only one instrumental work by Schubert other than the Quintet which has consistently received comparable appreciation: the Unfinished Symphony. In both compositions an opening Allegro movement combines melodies of astonishing beauty with moments of great power. In each, a sublime slow movement follows, in which an almost ethereal serenity gives way to passionate outbursts. These outbursts, in turn, serve to emphasize the prevailing, almost magical, tone in the remainder of the movement.

For the lover of chamber music, Schubert's String Quintet emerges as one of the purest, one of the most ideal expressions of mankind s rich and varied emotional world. Musician and amateur alike seem to agree that art has never been more successfully wedded with musical technique than in this completely satisfying composition. — Professor Martin Chusid

Musicians:
Emerson String Quintet
Mstislav Rostropovich

Side 1
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
String Quintet in C, D.956
1. Allegro ma non troppo
2. Adagio

Side 2
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
String Quintet in C, D.956
3. Scherzo (Presto) – Trio (Andante sostenuto)
4. Allegretto