The dynamic range, refinement and versatility so typical of the string quartet are essential to the way in which Amsterdam Sinfonietta functions and performs. Most of the string orchestra’s members play regularly in quartets and trios, piano trios, string sextets and suchlike. Each season they present chamber music programmes under the name Amsterdam Sinfonietta Soloists, often with leading roles for the principals of the string sections. An unusual version of Schubert’s celebrated String Quintet in C major has been chosen for this CD recording. The work is one of the icons of chamber music, and it is therefore all the more painful that Schubert never heard it, since it was not performed until twenty years after his death, and publication came even later. The instrumentation corresponds to the quintets of Luigi Boccherini and George Onslow, who wrote countless works for two violins, viola and two cellos. It is said that, having heard the double bass player Domenico Dragonetti, Onslow provided all his string quintets with an alternative bass part to replace the second cello part. Earlier, Beethoven too had hugged this ‘Paganini of the double bass’ out of pure admiration. Almost ten years before his String Quintet in C major, Schubert wrote the Trout Quintet, in which the double bass features prominently.
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