50 Years of 'Trout'

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In advance of our upcoming Trout Week chamber music festival, we're looking back at recordings of Schubert's "Trout" Quintet from each of the past five decades. You told us your favorite was Emanuel Ax with the Guarneri Quartet and we played it today at 12 noon. 


Listen to the beginning of the fourth movement to decide.

Rudolf Serkin and musicians from the Marlboro Festival

Emil Gilels and the Amadeus Quartet

András Schiff and the Hagen Quartet

Alfred Brendel and the Cleveland Quartet

Emanuel Ax and the Guarneri Quartet

Comments [28]


While there is certainly no shortage of fine performances of the "Trout", my vote would have gone for a performance you did not list ---- the Kodaly Quartet's on Naxos. It has a spark (and sparkle) I have yet to hear on any other recording -- including the fine ones you listed. I'd be curious if any other listeners know the Kodaly Quartet's version, and if so, what they think of it.

Mar. 30 2011 02:04 PM
Michael Meltzer

Just as an afterthought, the few selections WQXR has played by the Hagen Quartet have been very special. We should hear a great deal more of their recorded output.

Mar. 30 2011 12:12 PM
susan giovinco from WHITE PLAINS, NY

If you have never heard alfred brendel in concert, then I must say that he is the most gifted performer on the piano that I have ever had the pleasure to see and hear. I must vote for ALFRED!

Mar. 30 2011 11:57 AM
Michael Meltzer

Strictly speaking, you should be posting, "MEMBERS of the Guarnieri, MEMBERS of the etc....," as there is a 2nd Violinist missing and a Doublebass added who is a guest player.

Mar. 30 2011 11:53 AM
Ernie from NC

Serkin and Marlboro won for me, for the reasons Edith and Stan mentioned. But they were all fine performances in their own ways.

Mar. 30 2011 11:51 AM
John R. Gonzalez

I'll be 80 years young on April 13th and have been listening to QXR since the 1930's when you first began. I especially enjoyed the wit of Lloyd Moss (Actually I enjoy you all) since I used to be on the air in Stamford Conn. back in the 1960's and concertized back them to support the Latinos in the area. Thanks for so many years of joy, and intelligent information. Hope you never leave us.
Most Sincerely...John

Mar. 30 2011 11:18 AM
Michael from Garrison from Garrison, NY

Play them all! Yikes, A difficult choice, they are all marvelous. I have a half dozen other recordings of this quintet. I guess I'll go for Alfred, the Great and the mighty Clevelanders, this time.

And, Counce from CT, you are not a Long Ranger when it comes to thinking about Stephanie Cole and "Waiting for God."

Mar. 30 2011 11:16 AM

All are sprightly performances but I chose Ax and the Guarneri for his innate feel for Schubert's music and the quartet's famously beautiful string sound and collaboration.

Mar. 30 2011 11:03 AM
L.J. Lubin from Ft. Lee, NJ

Since I have the Serkin/Marlboro and the Schiff/Hagen recordings (as well as Jorg Demus/Schubert Quartet), I voted for one I haven't heard: Brendel and the Cleveland Quartet. Their recordings are some of my favorites, and I always look forward to hearing a war horse in a new light.

Mar. 30 2011 10:41 AM

Yes, all wonderful performances. I voted for Brendel and the Cleveland.

Mar. 30 2011 10:27 AM

I loved the Serkin version. It is the happiest and most joyful.

Mar. 30 2011 10:27 AM

I agree that all are treats,, but the Serkin and The Marlboro group wins hands down for me - the lyrical lines, they live and breathe the glorious music.

Mar. 30 2011 10:15 AM
Counce from CT

All performances are indeed a treat.
Am I the only one who thinks of the BritCom 'Waiting for God" with Stephanie Cole, when hearing the opening bars of the 4th movement?

I voted for Brendel and the Clevelanders.
Play them all.

Mar. 30 2011 10:11 AM
Andrea Pack from Astoria, NY

Brendel is my favorite but all are treats to the ear and soul.

Voting is confusing. Please clarify process next time. Thank you.

Mar. 30 2011 10:06 AM
Marie from NJ

These are all lovely, but my favorite performance is Julian Rachlin & Friends at the 2005 Dubrovnik Festival of Chamber Music. It is on You Tube in five pieces, the first one here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pzg1abZyOs. Mihaela Ursuleasa is so much fun to watch at the piano. It is just a wonderful, spirited performance over all.

Mar. 30 2011 09:58 AM
Fred from NYC

The Serkin is the one; light and bubbly as a brook.

Mar. 30 2011 09:55 AM
richard from englewood, nj

Much harder to choose this time! All are marvelous performances, but nostalgia makes me favor Serkin. Having heard him often in concert, I love his performances of the German romantics--his specialty. Hearing him again lets me relive those magical recitals.

Mar. 30 2011 09:49 AM


Each of the performing quintets are listed directly beneath the question: "Which is your favorite recording of Schubert's Trout Quintet?" Once you've clicked one of them, you should see a message that reads "Thanks for choosing your favorite Trout quintet!" This means your vote has been counted.

Mar. 30 2011 09:41 AM
Bill Warfel from Hamden, CT

The invitation "Just go to,our website and vote for your favorite ... " sounds great, but the pathway to making a vote is not clear, and there does not seem to be a "Make your vote here!!" sort of tab. I may have voted, but I am not sure. I am invited to listen, but not really to vote. Check it out, please.

Mar. 30 2011 09:17 AM
GinaK from New Jersey

Thanks for the samples. I vote Gilels AND the Amadeus. Although the pianist is important, the quartet is equally so.

Mar. 30 2011 09:17 AM
Steve from White Plains

Emil Gilels and the Amadeus Quartet. Emanuel Ax was a close second, but there was just 'something' about Gilels and the Amadeus Quartet that put it 'over the top. It's that almost unexplainable 'something' that makes one prefer one version over another. For instance, prefer Bruno Walter's version of Beethoven's 9th on Columbia Records, than the 9th as done by Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic. I still don't know why, but one version just 'clicks' and the other is a 'near miss'. It's just one of those imponderables I suppose...

Mar. 30 2011 08:54 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

Like Michael Meltzer said, all these Trouts are treats. I vote for the Serkin - his light but sure touch keeps this music fresh.

Mar. 30 2011 08:53 AM
Dani Burchman from New Rochelle, NY

They're all beautiful, but my vote goes to Emil Gilels.

Mar. 30 2011 08:43 AM
Johannes from Freiburg, Germany

I'm not sure whether the beginning of the fourth movement is the best part of the trout to decide this. But given the options I'm torn between Ax and Gilels and will (for the reasons given by Michael Meltzer) be voting for the latter

Mar. 30 2011 08:24 AM

I love them all!

Mar. 30 2011 08:10 AM
Tripthi Pillai

Emanuel Ax and the Guarneri Quartet, please!

Mar. 30 2011 07:27 AM

Brendel and Cleveland - the definitive performance!

Mar. 30 2011 07:23 AM
Michael Meltzer

NOT fair! Every one is not only a Trout, but a treat.
But, listening opportunities for Brendel, Schiff and Ax are plentiful. Serkin opportunities are becoming sparse, and Gillels generally remains buried. I would hope most votes are cast between those last two.

Mar. 30 2011 05:59 AM

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