Takács Quartet at Queen Elizabeth Hall – Schubert [Trout Quintet with Imogen Cooper & Graham Mitchell]

String Quartet in G, D887
Quintet in A for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass, D667 (Trout)

Takács Quartet [Edward Dusinberre & Károly Schranz (violins), Geraldine Walther (viola) & András Fejér (cello)]

Imogen Cooper (piano) & Graham Mitchell (double bass)

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: 20 May, 2011
Venue: Southbank Centre, London – Queen Elizabeth Hall

Takács Quartet. Photograph: takacsquartet.comThe Takács Quartet (and guests) offered two very contrasted works from Schubert’s prolific oeuvre that was composed in such an astonishing short time within his short life.

With a collective intake of breath, the Takács musicians opened Schubert’s final (and arguably greatest) string quartet in soft confiding tones, yet brimming with tension. They found well the lilting and agitated aspects of the exposition and entirely convinced in not taking the repeat, plunging directly into a development section of impassioned outpouring, musical and emotional inspiration ideally balanced. Fluctuations of pace and ruminations were finely judged, too. Of the middle movements, the slow one was a stately dance accruing tension and outbursts, and the scherzo scurried with purpose, the trio offering some contrasting insouciance. The finale enjoyed sustained rhythmic impetus, with variegation of attack and dynamics, brought off here with infectious unanimity to complete a convincing and absorbing performance, one that Hyperion will hopefully add to its Takács discography (please see below).

Imogen CooperThe ‘Trout’ Quintet, the ‘sunny side up’ outlook of Schubert’s personality, didn’t require Károly Schranz’s services (he’s the gentleman on the right in the group photograph) and introduced Imogen Cooper and Graham Mitchell who both became instant and seasoned relations to the ‘Takács 3’ for a bubbly performance of intimacy, caring/sharing and sparking brilliance; unalloyed joy in fact, melodies gratefully shaped, each player relishing every moment; but the music always came first, and only. The members of the Takács Quartet are now old friends of Southbank Centre and they return for three further recitals next season.

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