This new release on the Chaconne label is presented by the leading fortepianist and clavichordist Susan Alexander Max and her ensemble The Music Collection. World-renowned specialists in the period performance of late eighteenth- / early nineteenth-century music, they bring their expertise to Piano Quintets by Hummel and Schubert. Although otherwise highly contrasting, these works are both notable for their unusual inclusion of the double-bass in place of a second violin, otherwise the traditional piano quintet scoring. Uncertanties surround the composition and publishing dates of the two works and the debate continues as to whether Hummel’s slightly earlier work was the inspiration for Schubert’s ‘Trout’. The Quintet is among Hummel’s finest chamber works and shows Hummel at his best. It is well proportioned and inventive, with a wide range of ideas, both humerous and serious. The writing for the piano reflects Hummel’s own flamboyant virtuosity on the instrument. The last movement of Schubert’s Quintet is a set of variations on the 1817 song Die Forelle (The Trout). The work reveals Schubert’s incomprable lyricism in the relaxed outer movements, but popular dance rhythms and a brisk scherzo create drive and passion
“…This is a sunny, wonderfully planned, recorded and executed disc. Unhesitatingly recommended.”
Colin Clarke – International Piano magazine – March/April 2014
“It’s a real joy to hear Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet played on period instruments, including a Viennese piano made in 1814. This instrument, made by Johann Fritz, is one of the stars of this disc on Chandos’s Early Music label Chaconne: its slender, buzzy tone is very characteristic of Viennese pianos and it’s just the sound Schubert must have had in mind when he composed the quintet… Susan Alexander-Max plays this delightful piano with zest, relishing its colours and expressive potential with just the right kind of rhythmic control. The string players of The Music Collection all use period instruments (or copies of them) and their sound is fine a complement to the keyboard… The performance is devoted and completely convincing. With interesting notes by Alexander-Max and sound that s just about ideal for chamber music, this is a release that I have listened to with tremendous pleasure. Collectors of period-instrument chamber music performances shouldn’t hesitate.”
Nigel Simeone – International Record Review – February 2014
"... there is much here to enjoy, above all the obvious affection these performers bring to the music, the sheer pleasure of playing it ..."
Brian Robins - Early Music Review - February 2014