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Bloch: Quintets, Quartets / Lane, Goldner String Quartet


Release Date: 12/11/2007 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67638   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Piers Lane
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Riveting playing and excellent sound make the Bloch pieces unmissable

A fabulous CD this, easily the best recording of Bloch’s chamber music I’ve heard in years, and that in spite of two good couplings of the Quintets by the American Chamber Players (Koch – nla) and Iván Klánsky with the Kocian Quartet. The First Quintet, a product of the early 1920s, seems to combine the acerbic drive of middle-period Bartók with the kind of veiled sensuality one associates more with Chausson or Fauré. Bloch’s use of quarter-tones, aimed at intensifying the work’s already heightened emotional atmosphere, requires careful handling, and the
Read more Goldner Quartet make them sound both musically striking and entirely natural. If you need a sampling-point, try the finale’s opening, where the sense of urgency will hold you riveted. I’d still encourage readers to explore the old Alfredo Casella/Pro Arte set (Andante – nla), where tension levels are equally high though needless to say the gritty pre-war sound takes a bit of getting used to.

The real revelation here, for me, was the Second Piano Trio (1957), a work I hadn’t previously “felt” in quite the way I do now thanks to this remarkable performance. The language recalls the First Quintet’s stronger elements, with tone-rows this time rather than quarter-tones, though again their employment is musical rather than “political”. Amazing to think that this was Bloch’s last chamber work (he was already suffering from cancer when he wrote it), the combination of raw energy and mysticism suggesting the mind of a much younger man, much as Janácek’s late chamber music does. The Quintet’s quiet coda is rapturously beautiful and the blending of voices between Piers Lane and the Goldners simply could not be bettered. The short quartet bonuses suggest that a Goldner Bloch quartet cycle would be a good idea. But that’s one for the future; as for this current release, the music is truly wonderful, the playing entirely sympathetic and the sound perfectly balanced.

-- Rob Cowan, Gramophone [12/2007]
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Works on This Recording

1. Quintet for Piano and Strings no 1 by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921-1923; USA 
2. Quintet for Piano and Strings no 2 by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
3. Pieces (2) for String Quartet by Ernest Bloch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1950; USA 
4. Night by Ernest Bloch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
5. Paysages by Ernest Bloch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Goldner String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925 

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