The Piano Quintet in A major, D667 ‘The Trout’ by is one of the most popular pieces of chamber music. It was written when Schubert was 22 and is scored for the unusual combination of piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass rather than for a piano and string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello). It was commissioned by a wealthy music lover who requested a work with the same instrumentation as used previously by Hummel in his Piano Quintet in E flat Op. 87. This piano quintet gained the nickname ‘The Trout’ because its the fourth movement is a set of variations on a song called The Trout that Schubert had previously composed.
This finely produced recording contains a a brisk, bracing performance that emphasises the music’s alfresco holiday spirit. The ensemble builds through the introduction to the opening allegro with a sure sense of where the music wants to go, and continues with lively rhythms and excellent balances. I particularly enjoyed the presence of the doublebass which is powerful without upsetting the overall balance. Overall this is a performance to bring a smile to your face!