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Monday, January 28, 2019

Mozart, The String Quintets, Klenke Quartett, Harald Schoneweg

If you are reading this on the day I wrote it, yesterday was Mozart's birthday. Friday I covered a nice set of his Piano Trios. Today I have before me a new set covering his String Quintets (Accentus Music ACC 80467). It is chance that bundled these two sets before and after the anniversary of his birth. But of course it feels right. Mozart was one of the handful of spooky, almost unearthly musical geniuses that grace music history. And happy for that.

The six String Quintets are nicely recorded and played with distinct elan by the Klenke Quartett augmented to a quintet by Harald Schoneweg on additional viola. The performances are both peppy and sweet as called for without being sticky-sentimental or frenetic. And that is key since the music is marked by some ravishing slow movements and some dashing allegros. And as I listen to the almost incredible level of invention it strikes me how such a gifted musical mind is nearly unimaginable to me. I have a hard time imagining waking up in the morning and, I am Wolfgang Amadeus! Of course I am not but even the thought of writing music like this and so much of it in a short lifespan, it seems so far beyond my experience as to be the stuff of legend, of fable. Yet it was so. Listening to all six Quintets very well played as they are in this fine set, one finds oneself transported if one concentrates, or I do anyway.

A chamber configuration such as the quintet as Mozart wrote for it is not especially common in the annals of configuring over the Classical-to-Modern period. So it is possible to overlook this music just because you might not think to look for it. Perform it well and gather it all into one ready-to-hand set though and you are doing something very worthwhile! We should be grateful that this exists.

I can scarce imagine a better situated ensemble for this music. The Klenke Quartett, four women with considerable talent, sympathy and togetherness, plus Harald Schowenweg (who fits in like he was born to it) make it all seem so necessary, so right. The Klenke outfit comes to these Quintets after recording the complete Mozart Quartets, as the inclination, disposition and experience of and for living inside Mozart string music pays wonderful dividends.

I can not think of a better way to celebrate Mozart's birthday, or your own, or that of anybody you know for that matter. It is extremely beautiful music and the performances are among the very best. Heartily recommended.

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