Mozart: String Quartet in E flat, K428; String Quintet in C, K515

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WORKS: String Quartet in E flat, K428; String Quintet in C, K515
PERFORMER: Lindsay Quartet, Louise Williams (viola)
This is the third disc in the Lindsay’s engaging exploration of Mozart’s greatest chamber works – the six quartets dedicated to Haydn (composed 1782-5) and the five late quintets (1787-91). Although the E flat Quartet is less well-known than its companion-pieces, the Hunt and the Dissonance, it is no less delightful, particularly its witty, Haydnesque Allegro finale and the mysterious, enchanting Andante con moto. The C major Quintet is arguably Mozart’s chamber masterpiece, grandly conceived and majestic too in the spacious sweep of its opening Allegro. The Lindsay Quartet plays with the vigour and sensitivity that are its hallmarks. Yet there are excellent rival versions of both works available. In the Quintet the Lindsay takes a middle course between the intimate lyricism of the Grumiaux Ensemble (Philips) and the mercurial brilliance of L’Archibudelli (Sony Vivarte), perhaps finding more drama in the music than the former and avoiding the occasional offhandedness of the latter. The players sound a little edgy in the Quartet, especially compared to the relaxed fluency of the Mosaiques Quartet (Auvidis Astre’e), whose daringly slow reading of the Andante gives voice to a remarkable ethereal beauty. The Mosai’ques’s complete set of the ‘Haydn’ Quartets exudes similarly graceful assurance: it remains my top recommendation. Graham Lock