Bruckner String Quintet (CBSO Centre Stage)


CBSO players Centre Stage
CBSO Centre *****
Used to obeying the baton of a conductor, orchestral players have so much fun when they're left to themselves to make chamber-music. Then they can collaborate, discuss, respond to each other's body-language, and indulge in the sheer pleasure of shared music-making.
Often you don't actually need an audience (I have an inner battle with myself about this), but there are certain works which positively demand the engagement of a mere listener, and the wonderful Bruckner String Quintet is undoubtedly one of those. While maintaining the template of his great symphonies, it adds an element of intimacy and, indeed vulnerability, which makes it something very precious.
CBSO players have often been praised for the chamber-music attentiveness they bring to their orchestral performances, and here, for a Centre Stage lunchtime presentation of the Bruckner violinists Philip Brett and Charlotte Skinner, violists Christopher Yates and Catherine Bower, and cellist Eduardo Vassallo brought all their skills to a memorable reading.
Bruckner's underpinning bass lines were sturdy and impressive, voice-leading interwove between all five instruments so empathetic to each other, dynamics spoke so eloquently (those on the final page differed from those in my score, but that's the habitual edition-problem with poor Bruckner who could never make up his own mind -- he was born very close to being a Libran), and we departed in the knowledge that we had heard something very special.
And these five magical artists were probably going to be performing in Mahler Nine the very same evening!
Christopher Morley

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