Many thanks to Onkle for this marvellous recording
The Weller Quartet didn’t stick together for long. Walter Weller went on to pursue a conducting career; a pity because his first violin has one of the most ravishing tones I’ve ever heard.
# Composer: Franz Schubert
# Performer: Weller Quartet
# Vinyl (1970)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac (tracks)
# Label: Decca
# DR-Analysis: DR 16
# ASIN: B000V6Q98U
# Size: 2.01 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
Beautiful. Although rather forgotten now, this version, recorded in 1970, was often cited in the discographies in the late LP era as one of the references – and it still should be. Although the first movement is as urgent and dramatic as in the early interpretive tradition of the Budapest Quartet, the Hollywood Quartet or the Stern-Casals ensemble from the Prades Festival, especially after the repeat bar (5:07) where it sounds almost breathless at times,there is such instrumental beauty (highlighted by a vivid recording), such radiant lyricism from all five players that it gives you the impression, in an apparent blend of opposites, of being a version that takes more time to unfold its long lines, and truly and deeply sing. The Adagio is held-back in tempo, in its middle agitated section also, but with no loss of vehemence there; because of the very sensuousness of the ensemble’s tonal production, the very legato phrasings of the dirge-like accompaniment, the atmosphere in the outer sections is more earthly than with the Amadeus Quartet, in their famed recording from 1965, whose astringent sound elicits here a uniquely religious mood. The Weller’s Scherzo isn’t taken at the “presto” tempo prescribed by Schubert, more an “allegro moderato”, but it has become an interpretive norm here, and the Wellers bring plenty of vigorousness to it. Powerful finale, with plenty of charm in the lyrical sections, and a wonderful ease and chirping grace from first fiddler (later turned conductor) Walter Weller in his staccato triplets.
I don’t believe that there is any “best” version to any composition, because any composition is susceptible to a variety of interpretive approaches, of which the choice of tempi is the most immediately and strongly perceptible feature, and none is more, or less, legitimate than the other, each highlights a different aspect, a different emotional potential of the piece. Any serious collection should be, then, typically, with at least three versions of the great masterpieces, the two extremes – the Toscanini-urgent and the Furtwängler-spacious – and the in-between (but of course the gamut of “in-between” goes from urgent to spacious, and in Schubert’s Quintet the intense and vehement in-between of the 1983 Alban Berg Quartet or the 1990 Emerson Quartet with Rostropovich is absolutely not comparable to the more spacious and songful in-between of the 1977 Melos Quartet with Rostropovich). Given its urgent first movement, the Weller Quartet would belong to the interpretive family of the Budapest and Hollywood Quartets, that of the urgent and dramatic approach (which, with the best, never comes at the expense of a songful lyricism, but makes it even more intense), a model that was followed, more or less consistently and radically, among those I’ve heard, by the 1963 Taneyev Quartet, the 1970 Hungarian Quartet, the 1979 Grumiaux Ensemble, the 1989 Kagan Ensemble, the 1990 Archibudelli and the 1994 Orpheus Quartet (to say nothing of Heifetz, who pushed it to the point of caricature in 1961 – see product links in the comments section). But in fact, not only because its three other movements are more “middle-of-the-road”, but also because the radiant lyricism of its first movement dispels in a large measure the impression of breathless urgency of its tempo, this is a version that can easily serve as anybody’s standard version, despite the absence (customary in the LP-days) of the first-movement repeat.
The disc concludes with a fine Quartettsatz, decidedly on the lyrical side and taken at a tempo that is certainly more relaxed than what Schubert’s “Allegro assai” seems to imply (“assai” means “very), but with great purity of tone and a huge dynamic compass allowing for powerful and dramatic outbursts.
|Quintet In C Major|
|A1||I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo||14:10|
|Quintet In C Major (Concl.)|
|B1||III. Scherzo-Presto; Trio-Adante Sostenuto||10:40|
|Quartettsatz In C Minor|
Analyzed folder: /192kSch_5nt4rt_WelQuart/192k Schubert – Quintet Op. 163 – Weller Quartet
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR15 -0.41 dB -21.45 dB A1 Schubert – Quintet In C Major – I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo.wav
DR16 -1.66 dB -23.61 dB A2 Schubert – Quintet In C Major – II. Adagio.wav
DR15 -1.70 dB -21.43 dB B1 Schubert – Quintet In C Major – III. Scherzo-Presto. Trio-Adante Sostenuto.wav
DR15 -0.53 dB -20.19 dB B2 Schubert – Quintet In C Major – IV. Allegretto.wav
DR18 -1.68 dB -25.56 dB B3 Schubert – Quartettsatz In C Minor – Allegro Assai.wav
Number of files: 5
Official DR value: DR16
- Cello [1st] – Robert Scheiwein
- Cello [2nd] – Dietfried Gürtler (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)
- Composed By – Franz Schubert
- Ensemble – Weller Quartet, The*
- Viola – Helmut Weis
- Violin [1st] – Walter Weller
- Violin [2nd] – Alfred Staar
Recording Location: Sofiensaal, Vienna, March 1970
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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