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Chausson: Concert, Piano Trio / Meadowmount Trio, Wihan Quartet

Chausson / Meadowmount Trio / Wihan String Quartet
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572468   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Stephen ShippsEric Larsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meadowmount TrioWihan String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Impassioned and incisive performances of two of Chausson’s chamber masterworks.

Chausson did not commit himself to a musical career until he was twenty-six years old. The first fruits of that resolution were the fine songs of Op.2 and the Piano Trio Op.3. While the latter work possesses definite structural immaturities and is occasionally melodramatic, it also shows that the composer’s melodic gift and surpassing sense of thematic development were in evidence right from the beginning.

The introduction to Chausson’s Piano Trio is based on two themes that reappear throughout the work, generating other themes and insuring thematic unity. The stormy, almost morose, first movement proper demonstrates the
Read more composer’s already distinctive voice, especially in the development. The scherzo second movement has none of the drama of the first, being a rollicking and affectionate parody of the styles of some of the composer’s contemporaries. The massive slow movement starts out in a mood similar to that of the first, but becomes even more elegiac and wistful. The emotional level occasionally becomes strident, but the composer’s sincerity is unquestionable. The animé last movement starts off cheerfully, but themes from the first and third movements keep popping up, increasing the level of seriousness, and the movement ends quite austerely.

By 1889, almost a decade after the Piano Trio, Chausson had reached full artistic maturity. This is evident in the Concert, his best-known chamber work. The piece is not a concerto in the usual sense, but a sort of update of the concerto grosso, with the six instruments combining in different ways as well as playing all together. The first movement’s motto theme undergoes wonderful transformations in combination with a more lyrical second theme. The Sicilienne forms a gentle interlude between the weightier first and third movements, with the latter being something of a lament. The final movement continues the seriousness of its predecessor, but the overall feeling gr adually becomes one of tremendous vitality.

The Meadowmount Trio - their name derives from long-term residence at the music camp of that name - shows a of lot energy in their performance and Eric Larsen is especially to be commended for keeping things moving, although even he flags in the last movement. Larsen and the Meadowmount’s Stephen Shipps join the esteemed Wihan Quartet in the Concert and overall the six players form a cohesive unit, achieving quite a distinctive performance. Recording quality is fairly sumptuous by Naxos standards, although the violins are somewhat shrill. Altogether, a pair of moving and exciting performances.

-- William Kreindler, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor, Op. 3 by Ernest Chausson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Meadowmount Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Concert for Piano, Violin and String Quartet in D major, Op. 21 by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Stephen Shipps (Violin), Eric Larsen (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wihan String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889-1891; France 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 World Class Performance! February 28, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "What an awesome, viscerally exciting performance! This was the immediate impression I had after listening to this very excellent Naxos chamber music recording. Chausson's Concert in D Major for violin, piano, and string quartet must surely rank as one of the masterworks of French chamber music, and his elegant piano trio is not far behind. The excellent American group Meadowmount Trio does the honors in the piano trio, and two members of this group join the Czech Republic's Wihan String Quartet for the Concert in D Major. If you want to hear some chamber music which will knock your socks off, this disk is a must. Chausson's music is a superb example of French Romanticism, and his untimely death at the age of only 44 stands as one of classical music's great tragedies. Naxos can be (and should be) proud of this recording, which is an absolute winner. Highest recommendations!" Report Abuse
 French Music Supreme July 18, 2012 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "This album was a revelation for me. For anyone seeking to enter the world of French musical expression, this selection of works will enchant. The Piano Trio in G Minor in particular captured my imagination. The musicians who perform here are supremely talented." Report Abuse
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