Commercially Available CDs

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Chamber Music

The Smithson String Quartet (Jaap Schröder & Marilyn McDonald, violins; Judson Griffin, viola; Kenneth Slowik, cello), with Michel Piguet, oboe, Jaap ter linden, cello, and Lisa Rautenberg, viola

Virgin Classics 00946-372778-2-9

The Smithson String Quartet was, during its fourteen-year residency (1982-1996) as part of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, the pre-eminent American-based quartet performing the great classical and early romantic repertoire on original instruments. The Quartet took its name from James Smithson, whose 1829 bequest “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men” made possible the creation of the Smithsonian Institution—the United States National Museum—in 1846. The Smithson Quartet’s recorded legacy includes, in addition to numerous “live broadcast” sessions archived in the vaults of Swiss, French, German, and American public radio networks, CD performances of the six quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn in 1785, numerous other Mozart chamber works, a good cross-section of Haydn quartets, and the six Op. 18 quartets of Beethoven. Several of these recordings presented these works on period instruments for the first time, and many won “record of the month” or “record of the year” awards. The present five-disk consists primarily of performances never before released.

Listen to the Menuetto from the String Quintet in G Minor, K 516

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These works, heard in this manner, are a revelation, not just in terms of clarity and timbre, but also in sensitive phrasing and rich nuance. The very best in “authentic” quartet playing!

— Music Week (London)
On this album: 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

CD 1:
[1]-[6] Divertimento in E-flat Major, k563
[7]–[9] Quartet in F Major for oboe and strings, k370

CD 2:
[1]-[4] String Quartet in G Major, k387
[5]–[8] String Quartet in D Minor, k421/417b

CD 3:
[1]-[4] String Quartet in E-flat Major, k428
[5]–[8] String Quartet in B-flat Major, k458, the Hunt

CD 4:
[1]-[4] String Quartet in A Major, k464
[5]–[8] String Quartet in C Major, k465, the Dissonance

CD 5:
[1]-[4] String Quintet in B-flat Major, k174
[5]–[8] String Quintet in G Minor, k516