BBC Music Magazine

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We suggest five more works to explore after Schubert’s Trout Quintet


An obvious place to start when looking for works of a similar ilk to Schubert’s Trout Quintet is the song that inspired its fourth-movement theme and variations. Die Forelle, which initially sets out telling of a happy fish darting here and there in a brook, shows Schubert at his most ebullient. Inevitably, though, there is a dark twist with a moral to it at the end. (Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Helmut Deutsch (piano) Sony 1943978326­2).

Another important Troutian forerunner is Hummel’s Piano Quintet Op. 87, the 1802 work whose thenunique combinatio­n of instrument­s got Sylvester Paumgartne­r thinking that something similar from Schubert might be a nice idea. It’s not just the instrument­ation that is similar, though – Hummel’s hugely likeable piece shares the same conviviali­ty and instantly hummable melodiousn­ess too. (The Schubert Ensemble of London Hyperion CDH55427).

Another 20-or-so years later still, the French composer Louise Farrenc was also inspired to follow Hummel and Schubert’s model for her 1839 Piano Quintet No. 1. In this instance, the minor-key mood is a little more overcast, though sunnier moments regularly break through. And as Farrenc was herself a noted virtuoso, it’s no surprise that the piano is regularly given a sparkling role. (Quintetto Bottesini Brilliant Classics 94815).

Like Farrenc, the English composer Johann Cramer was a fine pianist, and in his Piano Quintet No. 3, first performed in 1833, with Cramer at the keyboard, it is his instrument that steals the limelight. To be fair, though, the double bass does also have some fine moments, as befits a work that featured the great Domenico Dragonetti at that same premiere. (Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet Brilliant Classics 93771).

Finally, we move forward to 1903 for Vaughan Williams’s Quintet in C minor, in which the Trout’s instrument­ation lends itself to a darkly brooding work with touches of Brahms to it. The composer himself withdrew the piece in 1918, but the ban was later lifted by his widow Ursula, allowing this glorious addition to the quintet repertoire to be revived in 1999. (Schubert Ensemble Chandos CHAN 10465).

A noted virtuoso herself, Farrenc gives the piano a sparkling role

 ??  ?? Fishy frolics: Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch are a fine Die Forelle duo; (below) composer Louise Farrenc
Fishy frolics: Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch are a fine Die Forelle duo; (below) composer Louise Farrenc
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