Notes and Editorial Reviews
This release is an early contender for the Want List. I assume both works are first recordings. The real discovery is Stanford?s Piano Quintet. Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852?1924), born in Dublin and died in London, may be thought of first as a pedagogue, and bracketed with Sir Hubert Parry in this guise. Stanford is described in
as ?a demanding and highly influential teacher.?
Suffice it to say that the Piano Quintet (1886) is a wonderfully flowing and spontaneous work, full of good ideas and Romantic bloom, and is most beautifully crafted; a
swinging Scherzo, a tender Adagio, and an outgoing finale follow an expansive first movement. If you respond to the chamber music of Dvo?ák and Schumann, then you will, I believe, find this work to be something special.
The String Quintet No. 1, completed in 1903, is more concise, and not just because it is in three rather than four movements. With a second viola being the fifth instrument, the textures are a little lighter than if a second cello had been employed. Again, the quality of Stanford?s invention is very engaging, and his craftsmanship is impeccable. The longest movement is the finale, which is nearly half the length of the 27 minutes this performance takes. It completes a likeable work that is launched with an easeful Allegro and continues with a rapturous Andante; the finale itself begins as a gentle dance, lightly pointed, something of an intermezzo, before developing into a satisfying conclusion. Worth getting to know.
The performances are deeply committed, and the sound quality is exemplary in both tonal fidelity and balance, not least between the pianist, the admirable Piers Lane, and his four colleagues.
FANFARE: Colin Anderson
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