Schubert: Trout Quintet & Death and the Maiden
Franz Schubert was a marvelous composer who lived a short and sad life. He died at age 31, and he left us some 600 songs (Known in German as “Lieder”) that are mostly based on poems by Heinrich Heine and other casual friends that were part of Schubert’s circle.
In the days of the early 1800’s, the entertainment of choice represented meeting of friends at various homes. Many of these folks were music lovers, and they frequently played all sorts of instruments. And Schubert would compose chamber music for groups of 2, 3, and 5 instrumentalists. Songs were for either male or female voices.
One of the songs that made Franz Schubert famous was a song about a fisherman who stands at the shore of a stream, determined to land a trout. The song is set to music in such a way that the sounds themselves become dark and foreboding as the time comes closer to the outcome: The little trout is quivering at the end of the fishing line.
Some time later, Schubert used this same song to compose the famous “Trout Quintet”, set for piano, violin, viola, cello and string bass.
This recording gives us this amazing music, as performed by the following players:
- Piano Quintet in A major, D667 ‘The Trout’
James Levine (piano), Gerhart Hetzel (violin), Wolfram Christ (viola), Georg Faust (cello), Alois Posch (double bass)
We also get an additional masterpiece:
- String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’
Performed by the Hagen Quartett
This is music of angels!
Here is the movement based on the song: Performed by the Eggner Trio – Christoph Eggner (Piano), Georg Eggner (Violin), Florian Eggner (Violoncello) – and with Lars Tomter (Viola) and Peter Riegelbauer (Doublebass) – recorded live at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg 2006
Now here is the final movement of this piece:
The Philharmonic String Quintet Berlin perfoms the Schubert, “Forellenquintett”, Movement 5, Scherzo (Presto)
OK, OK, I hear that you want an encore; so here you go:
Franz Schubert: Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass, D 667, Trout (4th movement), beautifully played, too!
Itamar Golan – piano
Susanna Yoko Henkel – violin
Guy Ben-Ziony – viola
Giovanni Sollima – cello
Tags: Franz Schubert, Trout Quintet, James Levine, Hagen Quartet