WORKS: Piano Quintet in A, D667 (Trout); Momens musicals, D780
PERFORMER: András Schiff (piano); members of the Hagen Quartet; Alois Posch (double bass)
CATALOGUE NO: 458 608-2 Reissue (1983, 1992)
András Schiff’s contribution here is fulsome and fervent, the velvety aura of his favoured Bösendorfer instrument lending characteristic intimacy to his playing. Elsewhere, this 1983 Trout doesn’t quite live up to fullest expectations. The members of the Hagen Quartet, then a comparatively inexperienced group, play well enough, without attaining Schiff’s depth of expressive insight. Most listeners will sense that this is a one-sided, keyboard-biased account, the pianist empowering most musical decisions.
There are no such concerns, of course, with András Schiff’s reading of the six Momens musicals and collectors who value his unique gifts will happily overlook any imbalances in the Trout. Even so, it would be difficult to rate this account beside the princely DG Originals reissue with Gilels, Zepperitz and members of the Amadeus Quartet (a secure benchmark choice among the many modern-instrument realisations of this work), or Decca’s equally famous 1957 Curzon/Vienna Octet recording. Michael Jameson