Monday, August 20, 2012

Budapest String Quartet, Trampler "Mozart - String Quintet no. 1, K. 174" (Vinyl) Maybe it's due to its relatively early composition, but I can't help but liken this quintet more to Mozart's symphonic string writing style than to his idiosyncratic methods for his string quartets. Comparing it to the later, monumental C major quintet (K. 515) each voice in the quintet feels more like the role it would play in one of Mozart's symphonies rather than enjoying the same athleticism Mozart would later expect of his musicians. The Budapest Quartet is regarded as the grandfather to today's String Quartet, mentoring youngsters such as the Guarneri Quartet. It's interesting to watch the evolution of the art form across such a (relatively) short time, but even within three/four generations how much our attitudes towards this music have changed. Arguments can be made either direction, but you can't deny we would perform this music differently today than was common 60 years ago. For my taste, many of the performances feel a bit "forward" in their sound and use the delicious old-school fast vibrato that mostly passed away with Isaac Stern.

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