Mozart: String Quartet in C, K465 (Dissonance); String Quintet in E flat, K614

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WORKS: String Quartet in C, K465 (Dissonance); String Quintet in E flat, K614
PERFORMER: The Lindsays; Louise Williams (viola)
The Lindsays take a broad view of these great works, broad enough to include both repeats in the outer movements of the Dissonance Quartet and the opening movement of the Quintet K614. The enlarged scope places greater emphasis on the coda when it eventually arrives; and in the case of the Quintet it also throws into relief the music’s curiously circular design, in which every structural landmark is signalled by the identical three bars of music — leading either back for the repeat, or forwards for the continuation. The Quintet — Mozart’s last chamber work — is notoriously tricky to play, and the Lindsays don’t quite match thejoie de vivre of the Amadeus Quartet and Cecil Aronowitz. That version is incomparable — to my mind, far preferable to the widely admired Philips recording by the Grumiaux Ensemble; but the Lindsays are very good, too, especially in their lilting account of the minuet’s Landler-like trio. Even finer is their warm, affectionate performance of the Dissonance. In common with just about everyone else, though, they don’t supply the missing violin bar in the slow movement. (When the same moment returns in the recapitulation, Mozart absent-mindedly copied out his original mistake.) The music makes no sense as it stands, and there’s no possible doubt about what Mozart intended; but such is the faith placed in so-called ‘Urtext’ editions that we almost never hear the passage in its correct form. It’s a small point, though, and the Lindsays’ performance is surely as deeply satisfying as any currently available. Misha Donat