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Hyperion Records

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The Rose Garden by Robert Atkinson (1863-1896)
Fine Art Photographic Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67590
Recording details: January 2007
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2007
Total duration: 13 minutes 0 seconds

'This wonderful Hyperion collection featuring The Nash Ensemble at its golden-toned and responsive best … Coleridge-Taylor's Op 10 emerges as a quite astonishingly mature achievement … 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' (Gramophone)

'This splendid disc of early chamber music goes a long way to explain [Coleridge-Taylor's] charisma. The Piano Quintet … is a superbly characterful work with an especially original finale. And the Clarinet Quintet … is so assured, so obviously independent of the obvious contemporary model (the Brahms), that the much-overused term 'masterpiece' may not, in this instance, overstate the case … the Nash Ensemble do these deeply attractive and enjoyable works proud (the two Quintets languished unplayed for the best part of a century, and this may be the premiere recording of Op 1) in affectionate performances that revel in Coleridge-Taylor's idiomatic and challenging writing. The recording is warm but texturally crystal-clear. Highly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is enough mastery here and in the later Ballade for violin and piano to make highly rewarding listening. The Nash Ensemble's performances, as one would expect, are devoted and full of insight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The composer's lyrical gift, rhythmic energy, and skilful use of colour and harmony are the work of a master … the Nash Ensemble does great justice to this music, with polished yet vigorous playing and superb musicianship' (American Record Guide)

'Coleridge-Taylor's creative light would seem to be firmly in the ascendant … the Nash Ensemble has maintained such an astonishingly high level of interpretative and technical expertise down the years that it is easy to become complacent. Yet even by its standards this is an exceptional recording, with Ian Brown excelling himself with playing of the utmost sensitivity and imagination. High honours also go to violinist Marianne Thorsen who plays the 13-minute Ballade with a radiant glow and passion which have one hanging onto her every note … enhanced by one of the most natural-sounding recordings that even Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon have ever produced, this is a must for all lovers of late-Romantic chamber music' (International Record Review)

'[Piano Quintet in G minor] is well-crafted, with piquant harmonies (the pianist, not incidentally, is the outstanding Ian Brown who brings added class to everything he touches) … the Clarinet Quintet in F sharp minor commands the listener's full attention. Richard Holsford, the eloquent soloist, is heard at his best in the beautiful second-movement Larghetto' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Suave musicianship and sonic warmth … the Nash Ensemble offers a vital and intellectually stimulating accounts of these rarities and their devotion repays the listener’s curiosity many times over. The playing is fresh and vibrant, not to mention poised and erudite … not as much as a single note will disappoint' (Fanfare, USA)

'Le Nash Ensemble met beaucoup d’ardeur à défendre cette très belle musique, qui n’avait pour l’instant jamais fait l’objet d’enregistrements connus. La sonorité est ronde et pleine, le travail effectué sur la partition intelligent. Ce disque ne dépareillera aucune collection et peut même constituer la première pièce de la discographie d’un amateur de musique de chambre en herbe. Autrement dit, il ne s’agit pas de bouder son plaisir' (Classiqueinfo-disque.com)

Ballade in C minor, Op 73
composer
first performed in Leeds in October 1907 by the dedicatee Michael Zacherewitsch and the composer

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
One of the larger-scale duos for violin and piano is the Ballade in C minor, which was written for the Russian-born violinist Michael Zacherewitsch (1879–1953), who gave the first performance with the composer at the piano in Leeds in October 1907. At only twelve years of age, Zacherewitsch had made a triumphant debut playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto, conducted by its composer. So impressed was Tchaikovsky that he got up a subscription to send Zacherewitsch to Prague, where he studied with Ševcík. In 1903 Zacherewitsch gave his first recital in London, in advance of a tour of England. He returned often, becoming a British citizen in 1915. His playing was compared by some to that of Wieniawski in its panache and elegance.

Coleridge-Taylor openly admired Tchaikovsky’s manner and the Ballade has passionate traits which sound distinctly Slavic (reminiscent more of the melancholic Rachmaninov than of Tchaikovsky, perhaps), but whether this was a conscious tribute to Zacherewitsch’s national origins is a matter of conjecture. It is rhapsodic in form, developing from a motto theme announced by the violin over rich, dark arpeggios from the piano. Numerous variations of tempo and metre eventually culminate in a fervent and impassioned climax, the piece concluding with a bravura coda in a brilliant C major.

from notes by Lionel Harrison © 2007

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