AllMusic: Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata & String Quintet

July 11, 2016

Franz Schubert composed nothing for solo cello, but there is a way cellists can still program his music. Matt Haimovitz’s 2016 release on PentaTone offers the Arpeggione Sonata in A minor, D 821, and the String Quintet in C major, D 956, two works that are important to cellists, despite being a bit of a compromise solution for soloists. The arpeggione was a bowed six-stringed instrument, similar to a viola da gamba, that enjoyed a brief vogue in the 1820s, but fell into obscurity well before Schubert’s sonata for the instrument was published in 1871. With some modifications, the work has been transcribed for various instruments, but it is most often performed as a cello sonata, and Haimovitz is among the many cellists who perform this arrangement of the piece. His performance with pianist Itamar Golan is balanced and sensitive, and the cello line is intensely lyrical, emphasizing the sonata’s song-like feeling. The String Quintet was scored for a standard string quartet and an additional cello part, which is often taken by prominent cellists. Haimovitz joins the Miró Quartet in this expansive performance, and he blends into the ensemble with ease, playing as an equal rather than as a guest artist. The audiophile sound of both recordings is wonderful for its details and clarity, and PentaTone’s super audio technology gives the performances depth and vibrant presence.

AllMusic Rating: 4.5/5 stars

By: Blair Sanderson

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