Monday, October 15, 2012

In review--Posthumous Beauty (the Van Gogh of Classical Music)


Arcanto Quartett w/ Olivier Marron
Franz Schubert String Quintet op. 163
Harmonia Mundia

When I began listening to classical music for healing purposes several years ago, I heard and read little about Franz Schubert, except for a short radio documentary about Schubert during one of his anniversary years.  I had heard snippets of his work, but only recently did I sit down and listen to an entire composition, String Quintet op. 163 performed by the innovative Arcanto Quartett and musical guest Olivier Marron who rounds out the European quintet.  And since Schubert represents a Romantic Era composer, you will hear little restraint, but bursts of passion alternating with tender moments.

I have heard this quartet perform before on previous recordings and I’ve also reviewed cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras’ solo efforts, especially his Vivaldi Cello Concertos (Harmonia Mundi), which I feel fondness.  And similar to some of Vivaldi’s pieces, Schubert’s string quartet feels like a celebration to the senses.  Having listened to the recording several times already, I especially enjoy listening to this CD when I’m working, but also over headphones when I feel like relaxing.  But even, as much as I enjoy this CD, I’m reminded of Schubert’s short life, his genius that went unrecognized during his time, and this contributes a bittersweet element when I listen to this stunning piece of music.  Born in 1797, Franz Schubert died in 1828, leaving a legacy that was only appreciated in hindsight.  However, after hearing this quintet, you will shake your head and wonder what were the people of Schubert’s time thinking?

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