F. Schubert, Octet, Mullova Ensemble
On this label, Viktoria Mullova (a former Philips client – no accident that she found her way to Onyx) now issues her second recording. She collaborates with musical friends Adrian Chamorrow (violin), Erich Krüger (viola), Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (cello – yes, son of Dietrich), Klaus Stoll (double bass), Pascal Moraguès (clarinet), Marco Postinghel (bassoon), and Guido Corti (horn) to great and truly cooperative effect. The coherence and musicality should not be a surprise: this is not a pick-up band but a group that has regularly performed (and recorded) for well over a decade. Since I don’t have their Bach concerto outing, I don’t remember having heard any of these performers (except Mullova, of course, and Fischer-Dieskau, whom I have participating in a very fine reading of the Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps on EMI), but they all play formidably. In particular the winds – most notably in the fourth movement Andante con variazioni – make some succulent contributions. The threatening lower strings in the introduction of the Finale: Andante molto – Allegro play haunting sul tasto with a superb touch. The sound is excellent with a very detailed presence, and all individual voices are easily identified and followed; though one can almost as easily sit back and take it in as a glorious whole, wonderful chamber music lasting over an hour. It’s Hausmusik of the best kind: a lighthearted spirit and joyous work given the attention of the highest quality of composition. Given its instrumentation it is quite different from the Mendelssohn octet and more like Spohr’s wonderful work in that genre. The liner notes by Jan Smaczny also mention the Beethoven septet, which comes to mind, too. A lesser-known work, and harmonically further down the road (if not by much), is the brilliant Rheinberger Nonett, a work that must be heard for its beauty to be believed.
onyx classics 4006