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Friday, July 24, 2020

Schubert, String Trio in B flat major, String Quintet in C major, Aviv Quartet, Amit Peled

If you listen to Schubert's Rondo from his String Trio in B flat major, D. 581 (1817) you experience a kind of timeless brilliance only a few composers can give us, the uniquely folksy earthiness of a higher order that the then-only-20-year-old Austrian Viennese master was already quite capable of. But then we can also revel in the full maturity of his String Quintet in C major, Op. 163, completed in 1828, in the year of his death. All this you can appreciate in a very  articulate reading as played by the Aviv Quartet with the addition of virtuoso Amit Peled on a second cello for the Quintet (Naxos 8.573891).

I've lived with the Quintet since my Chicago days, through an LP that was a birthday present for self. Some nearly 40 years later I am happy to hear another version, this one capturing both heroism and a slight whimsicality when needed. It remains a remarkable work, filled with more nearly timeless unspinning of melodic poignancy, endlessly inventive. To create such profound music without even reaching age 35 is as astonishing now as it was for me 40 years ago. Even if we are lucky to have a life span three times his, which is of course as rare now as ever, even then who could match the profundity and depth of his music?

Amit Peled is some cellist and he makes magic on this version of the Quintet. But then the Aviv Quartet sounds excellent as well. This CD coupling serves up some prime younger Schubert that is heard less than it should be, and then gives you the wonderful Quintet in all its memorable poetic greatness. Just listen to their fiery version of the Scherzo Presto and you'll no doubt "get it!" Bravo!

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