Mutter Trifonov Schubert Trout QuintetFranz Schubert

Forellenquintett/Trout Quintet

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Daniil Trifonov

Hwayoon Lee, Maximilian Hornung, Roman Patkoló

Deutsche Grammophon, 2017

This album presents a new recording of Franz Schubert much-admired Forellenquintett or Trout Quintet, together with the Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in E flat majorNotturno” and two arrangement for violin and piano of the two songs Ständchen and Ave Maria. The recording was made in Jude 2017 at the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden and features violist Anne-Sophie Mutter, pianist Daniil Trifonov, violist Hwayoon Lee, cellist Maximilian Hornung and double bass player Roman Patkoló.

As this is a live recording, the usual liveliness and vibrancy inspired by the concert hall must be expected and actually it is a really sparkling rendition that the five performers offers of the Trout Quintet. Mutter, in particular, seems intensely enthused and her charming personal touch is so significant that it gives a distinctive trait to the entire work. Mutter is delicate and romantic, but she is also inspired by more vivacious feelings and her zest is really contagious. Next to the violin, the other ubiquitous presence are the joyous colours of Trifonov’s piano, which expresses the same joie de vivre, the same lightness and enthusiasm. Lee, Hornung and Patkoló are somehow more distant, relegated to the background as they appear in the album cover.

The feature that differentiates this from other performances is the choice of time, which is unusually fast. This is a choice that confers to the work a peculiar brightness and allows the performers to express completely the cheery feelings that are so dear to them, even though not all the listeners will be pleased by the accelerated tempo. Personally, I think that this tempo does not sacrifice the spirit of the Trout Quintet but that it allows it to stand out in a more straightforward and “youthful” way that harmonizes so well with a work that was conceived as a leisurely one, but as an amusing composition (apart from the harmonic innovations Schubert wrote) which moreover belongs to the composer’s early years and was inspired by a holiday.

The last three works (Notturno and the two arrangements) are fine fillers and end the album with a more thoughtful nuance.