Virtuosi Tasmania - Schubert Quartet - Burnie
String Quintet in C Major D 956
Following Virtuosi Tasmania's successful concerts in 2011 & 2012, the ensemble returns with a program featuring a work considered the best in their repertoire.
Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, is widely acknowledged as one of the finest creations in all chamber music and dates from the final year of that composer’s short life, 1828. That year he revised the ‘Great’ Symphony in C Major and completed the three final piano sonatas, the songs of the Schwanengesang collection, this quintet, and the song Der Hirt auf Dem Felsen. Completed in the weeks just prior to Schubert’s death on November 19, the date of the Quintet is difficult to pin down, but it was probably composed at the end of the summer – on October 2 Schubert wrote to one of his publishers that he had “finally turned out a quintet for 2 violins, 1 viola, and 2 violoncellos.”
Many listeners have been quick to hear premonitions of mortality in this quintet. But it is dangerous to read intimations of death into music written shortly before any composer’s demise, and there is little basis for such a conclusion here – although he was sick during the summer, Schubert did not know that he was fatally ill. Rather than being maudlin, the Quintet in C Major is music of great richness, music that is full of life.
Although it's considered to be one of the masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire and one of Schubert’s finest works, he never heard it performed. It lay in manuscript until it was first played in 1850, twenty-two years after his death.