A marked contrast
Two piano quintets -
with DAVID THOMPSON
'Exemplary performances, excellent recording and presentation ...'
Hyperion, like Naxos, put us constantly in their debt by offering music
from off the beaten track that deserves to be heard. Here we are presented
with two French piano quintets from the first quarter of the last century,
written within a decade of each other, so the coupling seems an apt one.
That said, however, the contrast between the two is very marked in style,
mood and technique.
Those who think of Hahn exclusively as a composer of charming songs are
in for a real treat. His assured handling of a larger form will be a very
rewarding discovery. The quintet is delightful and accomplished, to return
to with pleasure. It is not a work that attempts to storm the heavens or
to astonish by its profundity, but it certainly conveys the real purpose
of music -- to refresh the spirit and to enable both performers and listeners
to share in the composer's mastery of form, content and instrumental colour.
The infectious commitment of Stephen Coombs and the Chilingarians convey
this with their immaculate advocacy.
Listen, for example, to the opening, where the rather dramatic direction
molto agitaro e con fuoco launches into a theme that Brahms might
have written in a mood halfway between his 'serious' style and the world
of the Hungarian Dances. The slow movement is ravishing in its plaintive
melancholy, building from a rapt accompanied cello solo anticipating that
in Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du Temps. Then, sit back and enjoy
the light-hearted rondo-like finale, guaranteed to bring a smile to the
face. A lovely, uncomplicated piece I am grateful to have discovered.
Copyright © 24 November 2001
David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - HYPERION CDA67258
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