Notes and Editorial Reviews
Antonin Reicha's music continues to inhabit the fringes of the active repertoire of everyone except perhaps wind quintets, which is a pity. Certainly Reicha was one of the most interesting and inventive composers of his era, and one of the few lesser-known personalities of the Classical Period aside from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Rossini whose music deserves to be revived and enjoyed. In 1826 he composed this enormous Piano Quintet, and there's not a second of "dead" music in any of its nearly 43 minutes. The sheer forward energy of the opening movement is truly extraordinary, with countless surprising turns of phrase, while the succeeding Lento poco andante offers some gorgeous experiments in texture (for starters, check out
the central cello solo backed by pizzicato strings and graceful piano figurations). A scherzo that never goes quite where you think it's going to (particularly in the central trio) yields at last to a finale that is the most formally regular of the four movements, but no less tuneful and expertly laid out for the ensemble.
The Trio in E-flat for three cellos is one of those tours de force of tone and texture that Reicha seemed able to toss off with astonishing ease. This also is a big work--27 minutes--in four movements and delightfully euphonious while at the same time far more colorful than we have any right to expect from this particular combination. An earlier work dating from 1807, there's more of Mozart and Haydn here than in the Piano Quintet, but certainly that's no penance.
The performances of both works leave little to be desired. In particular pianist Jaroslav Tuma plays a delightfully crisp-sounding fortepiano that offers a perfect foil to the more fulsome textures of the Kocian Quartet, and the three cellists match their tones extremely well. Best of all, the players have the energy and sheer stamina required to keep the music moving with the liveliness that characterizes all of this composer's best work. Fine sound rounds off an excellent release that can only do Reicha's reputation good.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Quintet for Piano and Strings by Anton Reicha
Jaroslav Tuma (Piano)
Kocian String Quartet
Written: 1826; Paris, France
Trio for 3 Cellos by Anton Reicha
Michal Kanka (Cello),
Vaclav Bernasek (Cello),
Petr Hejny (Cello)
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria
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