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CLASSICAL Schumann, Robert: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44. Brahms, Johannes: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67. The LaSalle Quartet, with James Levine, piano (in the Schumann). DG 2531 343 - The LaSalle and Levine take, on the surface of things, an exceedingly hasty view of the Schumann Quintet, and yet at no point do their tempi or their ideas betray Schumann, the impulsive Romanticist. Their reading is bracing, invigorating, and dazzlingly well played. The Brahms receives a strong, well-balanced performance that highlights the robust power of the music, though never at the expense of the smouldering beauty. The LaSalle remains one of the finest chamber groups in the country, not just for their obvious technical excellence and genuine cohesive style, but for the remarkable variety of music they are able to perform with stylistic veracity - from Beethoven to Berg, Schumann to Schonberg. The sound on this release is particularly natural and beguiling.

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