An exceptionally fine performance of the Mendelssohn string quintets by Jaime Laredo, Ani Kavafian, Heiichiro Ohyama, Kim Kashkashian and Sharon Robinson can be found on CD45883 (61 minutes: ADD). These are rhythmically alert and spirited readings, played with great charm and eloquence. They are an especially welcome addition to a catalogue that sports no rival version of No. 1 and only one of No. 2. The 1978 recording is one of the best in the batch, exceptionally well balanced with a fine feeling of depth and presence. Strongly recommended. (Gramophone)
It was Robert Schumann who praised the Anglo-French Georges Onslow, alongside Mendelssohn, as one of the successors to the chamber music legacy of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. His string quintets were intended for a market of cultivated amateurs, with parts for a second cello or bass. No. 10 in F minor, Op. 32 reflects Beethoven’s influence, its Sturm und Drang elements revealing a masterly balance between the stable and unpredictable. No. 22 in E flat major, lively and playful, offers an almost Schubertian songfulness. Of the first volume (8.573600) Gramophone wrote: ‘these five players make a beguiling case for this music’.
After its first two recordings, devoted to Schubert then Beethoven, highly praised and recommended by the critics (both ffff in Télérama, recommended by The Strad…), this eclectic, innovative quartet is now celebrating its tenth anniversary by tackling the string quintets of Mozart and Brahms. These two scores, representative of the culmination of a career in the case of Brahms and, for Mozart, the end of a life, are sustained by vigorous inspiration and frothing energy.
Since its formation in 1982 the Salomon String Quartet has established its position as one of the world's leading ensembles specialising in the historical performance of the classical string quartet repertoire. The quartet has toured extensively in Europe, the USA, the Far East, Israel and Australia as well as making regular appearances at British music societies and festivals. It has made many records for Hyperion and given numerous radio and television broadcasts. In addition to the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, which forms the basis of its repertoire, the Salomon Quartet has always been committed to the exploration and performance of the wealth of quartet music written by their contemporaries.
Together with the Talich Quartet’s accounts on Calliope, these Mozart string quintets with Arthur Grumiaux and friends represent the best currently available choices. Since the Grumiaux version was released in 1973 it has remained a stalwart of the catalog, and was previously released as part of Philips’ grandiose Complete Mozart Edition in 1991 and later was included with other chamber works in a pair of Duos issued in 1997. The analog sound has held up well compared to current standards and is perfectly acceptable, placing the musicians in a natural, believable sound-stage.
Sigiswald Kuijken was born in 1944 close to Brussels. He studied violin at the conservatories of Bruges and Brussels, completing his studies at the latter institution with Maurice Raskin in 1964. He came into contact with early music at a very young age, together with his brother Wieland. Studying on his own, he gained a thorough knowledge of specific 17th- and 18th-century performance techniques and conventions of interpretation on violin and viola da gamba This led to the introduction, in 1969, of a more authentic way of playing the violin, whereby the instrument was no longer held under the chin, but lay freely on the shoulder; this was to have a crucial influence on the approach to the violin repertoire and was consequently adopted by many players starting in the early 1970s.