“Trout” Quintet; Variations on Trockne Blumen;
Notturno in E-flat for Piano Trio
Martin Helmchen, piano; Christian Tetzlaff, violin; et al
PentaTone (SACD hybrid)
There is no finer performance of the Trout Quintet available, and certainly none better recorded: gorgeous, perfectly natural sound. So what makes this performance so special? First, this has to be one of the most shapely, elegant and effortlessly flowing versions ever committed to disc. Every phrase breathes, but in such a way that the character of the line always supports what the music seems to want to do. The “interpretation” simply dissolves into the pure experience of Schubert. Listen to the conversational exchanges between violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Martin Helmchen in the opening movement, the perfect intonation of all the string players. Then there’s the precise balance of Alois Posch’s double bass and the dreamy quality of the initial presentation of the “Trout” theme in the fourth movement. The players’ wide dynamic range lets them wring every drop of energy from the finale without ever forcing the tone, and it’s impossible to overpraise
Helmchen’s sensitivity in both his solo and accompanying roles. The couplings
prove equally inspired, offering variety that makes this disc ideal for continuous listening. Aldo Baerten’s soft-toned wooden flute proves a beautiful match to Helmchen’s elegant keyboard artistry.