Deutsche Grammophon has another excellent Schumann Concerto in its catalog, the Pollini/Abbado, with the Berlin Philharmonic, coupled with a good but not great Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Not surprisingly, Pollini is more muscular and evenly balanced in the Schumann, even if he is, as usual, a bit straitlaced. Pires is always the sensitive and probing artist, or so it seems. Here, she is alert from the opening descending chords to the expressive potential in every bar. She puts much more thinking and feeling in her interpretation than Pollini and most others I've heard.
All three of Brahms’ string quartets appear in this 2-CD set, along with his piano quintet, recorded live at the Vienna Konzerthaus, where Elisabeth Leonskaja joined the members of the Alban Berg Quartett. The ensemble’s name honours the continuity and vigour of Vienna’s long musical tradition, which reached one of its Romantic highpoints with these chamber masterworks, composed in the 1860s and 1870s.
It is almost exactly a quarter of a century since Pierre Boulez recorded his complete Webern survey. This new collection, apart from being useful for anyone who doesn't want to buy three whole CDs of Webern, offers an interesting insight into how Boulez's way with a composer probably more central to him than any other has changed. For a start he gives him a little more time: most of the pieces here are slightly but significantly slower than they were in 1970. This allows lines to be more subtly moulded, phrases to acquire a touch more poise. This is not to say that Boulez has softened and now phrases Webern as though he were Chopin, but grace and even wit (the second movement of the Quartet) are now noticeable alongside his customary precision. The Ensemble InterContemporain have been playing these pieces constantly since they were first founded, and it shows in the absolute assurance of their performances.
"These performances are notable for the blending of piano and strings into impeccably balanced textures. It’s an approach that’s better suited to the subtle Piano Quartet, a masterwork that owes much to classical models, than to the Piano Quintet. (…) These highly recommendable performances (…) join many other polished, modern accounts such as Takács/Hamelin and Mandelring/Le Guay that have been praised in these pages…" ~Fanfare
The music world associates Humperdinck first and foremost with his fairy-tale operas. Chamber music accounts for only a relatively small portion of his oeuvre, but should not be underestimated in its importance. This release presents the String Quartets and première recording of the Piano Quintet. In the Piano Quintet especially, the catchy themes and its wonderfully melodious middle movement, represent a valuable contribution to late-romantic literature off the beaten track.
Jaan Rääts is a composer with a fairly constant sound and style. The bulk of his work consists of instrumental music. From 1957–1993, Rääts completed ten symphonies. He has also written 24 concertos for orchestra and soloist(s) and two concertos for chamber orchestra, symphonic pieces and a lot of chamber music……..
Einar Englund's music might not be as deeply original as that of his elder countryman Sibelius, but it is wonderful, beautifully made music nonetheless. The Piano Quintet dates from 1941. It was Englund's graduation exercise, and it attracted the favorable attention of Sibelius himself. Already you can hear the qualities that characterize all of Englund's music: the late-Romantic, Russian-leaning sound of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, the clean lines, tight formal control, and memorable melodic ideas.
Featuring the first recording of two works by George Enescu – the String Octet, Op. 7, and the Piano Quintet, Op. 29 – this album introduces the listener to the fascinating, multifaceted, and intriguing world of the Romanian master's chamber music. Enescu's music is expertly performed by members of the extraordinary KREMERata BALTICA under the direction of Gidon Kremer, who plays first violin in both pieces. Kremer wisely chose the music, for the two …..Zoran Minderovic @ AllMusic.com
The music of Josef Suk, pupil of Dvorák and married to the elder composer’s daughter, is only now beginning to be recognized for its true worth. Presented here are three relatively early works, brimming with youthful enthusiasm but already showing considerable individuality, a highly developed approach to structure, and, occasionally, a touch of the melancholy introspection which was to inform many of the composer’s later works. A talented violinist, Suk lends to his chamber compositions a true understanding of the genre, while his thoroughly ‘Czech’ musical upbringing ensures strong representation for the folk and dance influences to be found in the music of many of his contemporaries.