A pupil of Tchaikovsky, whom he replaced at the Moscow Conservatory, Sergey Taneyev was a virtuoso pianist and a teacher of Scriabin and Rachmaninov. Although as a composer Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including six String Quartets. These beautifully crafted works are marked by technical assurance at every turn, as well as dramatic inspiration and intense lyricism. The masterly five-movement Quartet No. 1, in fact Taneyev’s Fifth, includes two notable slow movements, while the lighter Quartet No. 3 features a graceful theme with eight variations, alternately playful and contemplative.
A pupil of Tchaikovsky, who called him the ‘Russian Bach’, Sergey Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, although he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including nine complete String Quartets. Quartet No. 9 is a memorably melodic work, while the beautifully crafted Quartet No. 6, his last completed quartet, is rather more austere, though marked by a playful Jig, and even more masterful in construction.
Two chamber masterpieces from nineteenth-century Russia, performed by Piers Lane and the Goldner String Quartet. Taneyev has been known as the ‘Russian Brahms’ and this epithet is particularly apposite when considering his Piano Quintet in G minor, especially as regards both its instrumental writing and its intellectual passion. Composed in 1911, this massive work bids fair for the accolade of the greatest work in the Russian piano-chamber repertoire before Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet of 1940. Only the extravagance of its technical demands can explain its failure to establish itself in the standard repertoire.
This French group was founded on the Riviera (Nice more precisely) as had SHYLOCK also. They both managed to make two albums both on the Musea catalogue nowadays. However they do sound different, CARPE DIEM sounding more diversified and also holds some singing, as well as some wind instruments (flute & saxes)…
For fans of Sergey Taneyev, the so-called Russian Brahms, the re-issue of the Taneyev Quartets recordings of the nine string quartets of their namesake in 2005 was cause for celebrating. Taped in the late Seventies, their recordings were only intermittently available in what was then called the West, and their re-release restored to the catalogue performances which could well be considered definitive.
This limited edition for the Haydn Bi-Centenary is a bargin price reissue of renowned Aeolian Quartet recordings from the 1970's. They are brilliantly played the late analogue sound has been well remastered by Decca. It is strange there are so few complete recordings of these quartets as the music is quite superb. From the early 'divertimento' type pieces through to the profound later works there is never a dull moment.
In 1827, when writing his Quartet in A minor, Op.13, the 18-year-old Felix Mendelssohn was especially interested in Beethovens late quartets at a time when these works were generally written off as confused fantasies of a deaf musician. Mendelssohn's debt to Beethoven is evident in the important role of polyphonic techniques, particularly in the focus on cyclical connections between movements. Ten years on, Mendelssohn composed the three quartets, Op. 44, the D major quartet that closes the present disc the last of these to be completed; on publication, however, Mendelssohn placed it first in the set. Besides the seven complete quartets, Mendelssohn also wrote four individual string quartet movements. These were gathered together and published posthumously as op. 81, and on this second volume of their complete Mendelssohn cycle the Escher Quartet perform two of these pieces, both conceived in August 1847, shortly before the composers death.
Never mind the Symphonie espagnole and Le roi d’Ys, Edouard Lalo is the last of the great unknowns in 19th-century French music. His mature instrumental works combine the wisdom drawn from his professional playing experience with the familiar flair for rhythm and colour. They are likely to transform any opinion you may hold: it isn’t often that the inspiration of Beethoven was so well digested in France. The first two trios don’t really count as mature, and although they contain fine things, especially in the scherzos, their characteristic soul, sweep and dash are often clumsily handled. With No. 3, form and feeling are as one, the first movement’s surges integral to its progress to a hushed end, while the slow movement builds a powerful span from a sustained melody. Between them comes the irresistible piece better known in Lalo’s later arrangement as a Scherzo for orchestra. These performances have the necessary robustness without stinting on delicacy.