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Stanford: Piano Quartet No 1, Etc / Pirasti Trio, Et Al

Release Date: 09/25/2001 
Label:  Asv   Catalog #: 1056   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Alison WellsPhilip DukesJeffrey SharkeyNicholas Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pirasti Piano Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Music of great charm‚ effortless fluency and no mean substance‚ beguilingly championed.

Stanford was 26 when he completed his First Piano Quartet in April 1879. It’s a delightful discovery in every way‚ whose purposeful‚ driving outer movements frame a delectably clean­cut‚ skipping scherzo and an autumnal‚ at times very Brahmsian Poco adagio of burnished lyrical beauty (complete with a fond backward glance to the trio melody in the radiant coda). In the similarly assured First Piano Trio of 10 years later‚ Brahms’s shadow looms more intimidatingly over the landscape and there is perhaps not quite the same youthful‚ carefree quality to Stanford’s sturdy inspiration. All the same‚ there are a few surprises in store‚
Read more not least the extended Tempo di menuetto ma molto moderato third movement with its two trio sections – and I love the way the winsome second movement coquettishly dallies between the home key of G minor and relative major of B flat. Both works‚ by the way‚ bear a dedication to a German conductor‚ the Piano Quartet to Ernst Frank (Kapellmeister at the Frankfurt Stadt­Theater and a close friend of Brahms)‚ the Piano Trio to the legendary Hans von Bülow (who had promptly taken up Stanford’s Irish Symphony with great success in Hamburg and Berlin). The Pirasti Trio‚ who left such a favourable impression with their ASV anthology of Stanford’s Second Piano Trio and piano trios by Bax and Holst (9/95)‚ prove eloquent‚ unfailingly stylish advocates throughout. For the Piano Quartet‚ they are joined by that admirable violist‚ Philip Dukes. Boasting truthful sound and pleasing balance (the sessions‚ I see‚ took place as long ago as July 1998)‚ this exemplary coupling earns a firm recommendation.

-- Gramophone [12/2001]
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 15 by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Alison Wells (Cello), Philip Dukes (Viola), Jeffrey Sharkey (Piano),
Nicholas Miller (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pirasti Piano Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  St Silas Church, Kentish Town, London 
Length: 28 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in E flat major, Op. 35 by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Nicholas Miller (Violin), Jeffrey Sharkey (Piano), Alison Wells (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pirasti Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1889; London, England 
Date of Recording: 07/1998 
Venue:  St Silas Church, Kentish Town, London 
Length: 29 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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