Notes and Editorial Reviews
Exquisite readings of precocious fare - another jewel from the Nash Ensemble
Coleridge-Taylor is enjoying a decent innings at present: Lyrita has a new recording of the Violin Concerto with Lorraine McAslan waiting in the wings, and now comes this wonderful Hyperion collection featuring the Nash Ensemble at its golden-toned and responsive best.
In truth, the performance of the 1895 Clarinet Quintet is in a different league to the Centaur version I assessed last January; it comes as no surprise to learn that these consummate artists had given a memorable live rendering at the Wigmore Hall just a few weeks previously. Coleridge-Taylor’s Op 10
emerges as a quite astonishingly mature achievement for a 19-year-old, its pleasing sense of architecture and ambition reinforced by the inclusion of the first-movement exposition repeat. What’s more, the slow movement is now revealed as so much more than just a songful interlude, its “deepest sensibility” (to quote Lionel Harrison’s admirable annotation) and wistful tenderness putting me in mind of the ravishing Air from Parry’s An English Suite.
The even earlier Piano Quintet (1893) may be marginally less assured but likewise manifests a tumbling lyricism and joyful spontaneity worthy of Dvorák, and well merits the entrancingly poised championship it receives here. The 13-minute Ballade in C minor for violin and piano was written in 1907 for the Anglo-Russian virtuoso Michael Zacherewitsch (1879-1953), who had made his debut at the age of 12 playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto under the composer’s baton.
Backed up by a blemish-free production from the Keener/Eadon team and attractively presented, this has to be one of the most engaging releases I’ve heard all year.
-- Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone [11/2007]
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