Apparently a staple in Russia, the music of Taneyev exists on the fringes of the repertoire in the West, something that should be rectified--and will be if this superb CD made by a starry cast of performers gets the attention it deserves. He's a Romantic composer, but hardly of the heart-on-sleeve variety, since he was a master of counterpoint and firmly encased his Romantic impulses in a well-fitted classical jacket. Sometimes he makes you think of a more modern, pungent Brahms with a Russian accent.
The Piano Quintet, dating from 1911, is a huge chamber work, 44 minutes long in this performance; its 19-minute first movement is longer than many other complete works. After aRead more mournful opening, it builds in drama and intensity, broken by sections that can seem jocular. These players bring it off splendidly. My only nit-pick would be a touch of heaviness in the second-movement Scherzo; I could imagine it done with a lighter touch. But the Largo movement is gorgeous, its stately tread and spare beauty casting a hypnotic spell. The full-bodied, ardent Finale builds to an extended coda in which Taneyev pulls out all the stops. The violins pushed to their outer limits and the slashing fortissimos are of the sort that can bring an audience to its feet cheering.
The Trio dates from 1908 and again is a large-scaled chamber work--38 minutes in this well-nigh ideal performance. Gorgeous melodies abound, and the expressive center of the piece is its relatively brief third-movement Andante, whose dueting strings touch the heart. The Finale is another of those muscular, rhythmic movements that create excitement, but with a fascinating unexpected interruption in the form of a tranquil passage and piano cadenza before resuming the dash to the finish line. Mikhail Pletnev is magnificent in both works, with pianism that's lucid and expressive. He knows when to take a back seat to his string players and when to step into the spotlight. Vadim Repin and Lynn Harrell join him in the Trio.
All-star lineups don't always pan out--the 2005 Yankees didn't make it to the World Series, but Pletnev & Co. certainly have won a championship with this disc. Here's hoping DG will have them explore more of Taneyev's rich chamber music lode. [1/23/2006]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Quintet for Piano and Strings in G minor, Op. 30by Sergei Taneyev Performer:
Nobuko Imai (Viola),
Mikhail Pletnev (Piano),
Vadim Repin (Violin),
Ilya Gringolts (Violin),
Lynn Harrell (Cello)
Period: Romantic Written: 1911; Russia Date of Recording: 2003 Venue: Théatre Vevey, Vevey, Switzerland Length: 44 Minutes 16 Secs.
Trio for Piano and Strings in D major, Op. 22by Sergei Taneyev Performer:
Lynn Harrell (Cello),
Vadim Repin (Violin),
Mikhail Pletnev (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1906-1908; Russia Date of Recording: 2003 Venue: Théatre Vevey, Vevey, Switzerland Length: 38 Minutes 7 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Taneyev's piano quintet is a towering masterpieceFebruary 2, 2012By Jamie Weiner (Painted Post, NY)See All My Reviews"As an aficionado of chamber music, I thought I was familiar with all the great piano quintets. I had heard that Taneyev's contribution to the genre was a massive work and this was confirmed by my perusal of the score (which was the direct impetus for the purchase of this recording). Well, it's been a very long time since I was absolutely bowled over and mesmerized by a piece of music, but this quintet is truly a stunning masterpiece from the somber opening to the jubilant conclusion, and certainly deserves to be played along with those of Schumann, Brahms, and especially Dvorák. In my opinion, it's the greatest work of chamber music ever composed by a Russian, making it incomprehensible to me that Taneyev's music has been so neglected.
The first movement is a turbulent piece in sonata form with a sweetly tender second subject (in the unorthodox key of A flat major) which contains two very expressive and poignant features: a rising seventh in its second bar and a Neapolitan sixth in its penultimate bar. What's even more unusual about this melody (and something I realized only after multiple hearings) is that its first six notes are an inversion of the first theme's initial six notes! Pay special attention to this melody as it will return at the very end of the work in a most grandiose and spectacular fashion. The second movement is a deft almost Mendelssohnian scherzo in E flat major with a beautiful trio that returns in the da capo in combination with the scherzo theme (Taneyev was a master of counterpoint and even wrote a book about it). In this da capo section, a slight deviation from the score occurs in the third and fourth bars after figure 144 (on page 60 of the score), where the triple-stopped cello chords are played arco instead of pizzicato. The slow movement is based entirely on a descending C major scale above which is placed a most beautiful melody. It's almost like a passacaglia with a ground bass that is repeated 40 times accompanying music of haunting beauty. The finale is another stormy movement which ultimately leads to a reprise of the second subject of the first movement in an ecstatic peroration. Once heard, you will never forget the way that initially tender and unassuming lyrical melody is transformed into a rapturous G major paean of triumph. That rising seventh I mentioned earlier lends this melody a particularly blissful quality, especially noticeable when the first violin and the cello soar to stratospheric heights in the coda while playing at the upper limits of their registers. This coda is extraordinarily beautiful and ends the quintet in a tremendous outpouring of sound unlike that in any other chamber work I know. In the final seven bars, as indicated in the score ("quasi campane"), the piano actually imitates the pealing of bells!
Coming immediately after the joyous conclusion of the quintet, the trio is a bit anticlimactic, but it is still a beautiful masterwork that doesn't deserve its neglect. My favorite movement is the ferocious scherzo. It is easily the equal of any of the standard piano trios that are played over and over again. The score of the quintet is available free of charge from IMSLP--just search for the work under Taneyev. The performance of Mikhail Pletnev et al is blazing in intensity and flawless in execution. Not surprisingly, this CD has been named chamber music recording of the year by Gramophone Magazine. If you have any appreciation for chamber music (and especially if you don't), you owe it to yourself for the sake of your soul to purchase this recording, so click that "add to cart" button right away. "Report Abuse