Inside Schubert's String Quintet in C Major
Top chamber players ponder the joys and complexities of this unique work
Schubert’s Quintet, D. 956, Op. 163 (posthumous), occupies a special place in chamber-music literature. For many string quartets, the piece has become a staple. It is such a crowd-pleasing favorite that the quintet can even be used on special or festive occasions. There are a number of reasons that the quintet is so popular both with ensembles and their audiences. For one, the piece has nostalgia going for it. It’s the composer’s last instrumental work, and his only full-fledged quintet, finished two months before his death. It delivers as much as an hour of glorious sunshine interrupted only briefly by otherworldly cries in the slow movement and an ominous shadow in the very last measure.
This article, "Inside Schubert's String Quintet in C Major," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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