It is my belief -- a belief undimmed by its obvious foolishness -- that this is the single greatest piece of music ever written, by anyone, ever.That's Joshua Kosman, in the comments to a posting on The Standing Room. At the point when I first read his comment, I had not yet heard the quintet. When I did, I fell over. No, not really, but close enough.
Yes, I guess it is foolish to deem any particular work the single greatest piece of music ever written, by anyone, ever....but I challenge you to hear the Schubert Quintet live, in any reasonably competent performance, and not reach the same conclusion. Me, I've been lucky enough to hear two much-better-than-competent live performances.
Tristan und Isolde! you say. And so do I, at least after seeing it performed. But the Schubert...transcendence in forty-five minutes. Truly, there is nothing better.