The Strad issue
Chilingirian Quartet, Yuko Inoue (viola)
Flagging finances, and the need to offer the customary three works for a subscription publication, encouraged Mozart to fashion an unconvincing String Quintet in C minor from his Serenade for six wind instruments. It certainly does not sit comfortably on strings and makes a strange bed-fellow for his two masterpieces of the genre, K515 and K516.
From the fast-flowing theme that opens the G minor Quintet, the expanded Chilingirian players point to a very free view of the shape and pace of the movement, in which the frequent falling passages are often linked with a slowing of the pulse to bring added beauty. The punctuating chords in the second movement are unusually pointed, and the following Adagio non troppo is both affectionate and of unhurried sensitivity. I particularly like the way their tramping gait opens a view of the finale infused with happiness,
The players take a robust approach to the outer allegros of the C minor Quintet that serves the works well, and with a refined approach to the inner movements they lack nothing in their devotion to the music.
There are passing moments of edgy intonation in both works, and the recorded balance could have been kinder to inner voices, particularly the two violas, though the overall sound is pleasing.