There are times, sadly, that the depth of genius is not recognized until long after the person containing such genius has passed from the Earth. One of the most blatant examples of such myopia in the classical music world was the neglect of Franz Schubert, not only during his lifetime but also for decades after his death. Today, in extreme hindsight, it seems unfathomable that early 19th century musicians, publishers and, therefore, the public were simply oblivious to the scope of Schubert’s talent. Maybe all he needed was a better marketing plan!
Well, these days there are plenty of musicians and classical music lovers who realize the scope of Schubert’s genius and his music seems now to market itself. But, Schubert still needs talented musicians to bring his music to life. It is our good fortune that the Avie label of London has chosen in recent years to be the distributor of the recordings of one of the most brilliant ensembles in America, the Cypress String Quartet, formed in San Francisco in 1996.
The CSQ’s latest recording is of the final chamber work by Schubert, one of his most recognizable masterpieces, the String Quintet, scored for two violins, viola and two cellos. The CSQ is comprised of American musicians trained on both sides of the Atlantic: violinists Cecily Ward and Tom Stone, violist Ethan Filner and cellist Jennifer Kloetzel. But, what about the additional cellist needed for the Quintet? No less a guest artist to this Schubert soirée is Gary Hoffman, one of the world’s leading cellists. With the usual precision and sensitivity of the CSQ combined with the additional mastery of Mr. Hoffman, this latest recording of the Schubert Quintet surely ranks with one of the best of the modern interpretations currently available on record.
Whether listening in the car, in your den or maybe even while taking a soothing therapeutic bath, the Schubert Quintet with the Cypress String Quartet and cellist Gary Hoffman reminds us again why Schubert is truly one of the great musical geniuses of all-time. I am sure this recording will transport you to a place of peace amidst the din of an insane world!
Ted Weiner is a WDAV veteran. This San Francisco Bay Area native has been on the WDAV airwaves since November 1986 when he arrived in Charlotte from New York City and began working as a weekend and all-round fill-in announcer. He became Music Director in 1991 and has been maintaining the WDAV recording library and choosing much of the music we hear ever since. Night owls and early birds can hear Ted Weiner on WDAV from midnight until 5 each morning on WDAV’s Early Shift on 89.9fm or online.