Fitzwilliam String Quartet - Bruckner: Quintet & Quartet - Limelight Magazine

I've always had a high regard for Bruckner's String Quintet in F Major, the work he wrote in the afterglow of his Fifth Symphony, and every bit as symphonic in scope and ambition. Alongside the Quintet, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet has included the String Quartet in C Minor, which Bruckner composed when studying under Otto Kitzler, and an alternate view of the chamber music path he might have followed presents itself. Young Anton revels in inhabiting the compositional fabric of Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. The tone is light and playful; but ultimately Bruckner's sonic imagination drove him elsewhere. 

Adding guest violist James Boyd, the Fitzwilliam Quartet performs with gut strings and period instruments configured to exactly the pitch Bruckner himself would have expected. Vibrato is expertly controlled throughout, and although the medium might cross into unfamiliar terrain, the sound and motivation behind this music is pure Bruckner.

Beginning in the midst of an unfolding harmonic argument, the fulsome and fine-grained blend of the Fitzwilliam approach sings proudly. Phrasing breathes luxuriously and is never allowed to tip into the red heat of faux-Romanticism. The extended Adagio - where Lucy Russell's violin soars towards the heavens - could well be one of Bruckner's most serene creations, while the first movement trials key relationships that turn up again in the Ninth Symphony. To love Bruckner is to love this CD.

Limelight Magazine
19 April 2016