Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Shades of Night by Nesta Jennings Campbell (d1951)
Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museums, Gloucestershire / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67638
Recording details: February 2007
Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, Stoke d'Abernon, Cobham, Surrey, United Kingdom
Produced by Amanda Hurton
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: November 2007
Total duration: 7 minutes 19 seconds

'A fabulous CD this, easily the best recording of Bloch's chamber music I've heard in years … the first Quintet, a product of the early 1920s, seems to combine the acerbic drive of middle-period Bartók with the kind of veiled sensuality one associates more with Chausson or Fauré. Bloch's use of quarter-tones, aimed at intensifying the work's already heightened emotional atmosphere, requires careful handling, and the Goldner Quartet make them sound both musically striking and entirely natural. If you need a sampling-point, try the finale's opening, where the sense of urgency will hold you riveted … the Quintet's quiet coda is rapturously beautiful and the blending of voices between Piers Lane and the Goldners simply could not be bettered … the music is truly wonderful, the playing entirely sympathetic and the sound perfectly balanced' (Gramophone)

'This new beautifully balanced recording in which Piers Lane partners the Australian-based Goldner Quartet has the edge in almost every respect … in the First Quintet Lane and the Goldners manage to communicate the urgency and immediacy of Bloch's musical argument with far greater fervour than their Czech colleagues on the Praga Digitalis release … most attractive are the three Paysages, depicting landscapes as disparate as the frozen Arctic wastes, the slopes of the Alps and the energetic exotic rhythms of the South Pacific islands in vivid colours' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The performances are superb! The Goldners and pianist Lane play with complete technical command and an emotional commitment to the works' (American Record Guide)

'This Hyperion release is not only perfectly compiled … but also brings, with the opening of the First Piano Quintet, music that is particularly striking and which also becomes compulsive … the middle movement is an atmospheric Andante mistico, melodic and spacious, strangely beautiful and full of Eastern promise, exotic and ethereal, the writing skilful and imaginative … a powerful and enveloping whole that is both intoxicating yet underpinned with logic … Piers Lane (a sensitive chamber music player whose concerto-soloist confidence and personality is a boon) and the Goldner String Quartet (a group of real distinction) give superb performances, deeply committed, vividly declaring without sacrificing good balance, attention to detail and a wide dynamic range, qualities brought forth by the excellent recording' (International Record Review)

'[Piano Quintet No 1] ranks among the finest in the genre … a work of astonishing immediacy, at once lyrical and aggressive, that takes you on a lurching emotional journey before achieving stability in the most serene C major imaginable … the performances, by the Goldner String Quartet and pianist Piers Lane, are tremendously authoritative in their combination of technical daring and expressive power' (The Guardian)

'In his two finely crafted piano quintets, we find sonata form mingling with quarter-tones and an identifiably Jewish lyricism: very engaging, especially in these performances from Lane and the Goldner String Quartet' (Financial Times)

'Start with the Andante mistico of the First Quintet and you'll discover real intensity in expression and music that borders on the religious in its devoted strength … presented with such vigour and playful ease, particularly by Piers Lane … all essential listening, but the musically most rewarding works here are without doubt the two piano quintets, which I will return to time and time again, not least for the brilliant Piers Lane' (Pianist)

Two Pieces
composer
No 1: completed on 7 November 1938; No 2 completed on 4 October 1950; dedicated to the Griller String Quartet

Andante moderato  [3'52]
Allegro molto  [3'27]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The first of the Two Pieces for string quartet (Andante moderato) was completed in Châtel, Haute-Savoie, on 7 November 1938—some two months prior to Bloch’s return to the USA after eight years in Europe. The second (Allegro molto) was finished nearly twelve years later in Agate Beach, Oregon, on 4 October 1950. They are dedicated to the Griller String Quartet, ardent champions of Bloch’s chamber music both in their native United Kingdom and abroad. These short movements, based on motifs appearing in sketches that date from much earlier in Bloch’s life, have been described as ‘studies’ for the larger String Quartets Nos 2–5 that he composed respectively in 1945, 1952, 1953 and 1956.

The first piece is typical of Bloch’s lyrical style. Elements of counterpoint alternate with chordal passages; and the chromaticisms are always conceived within the context of tonality or modality. A relatively calm mood at the beginning and at the end contrasts with the violent intensity of the middle portion of the movement, the main theme of which recurs in the middle of the second piece, a vigorous perpetuum mobile in 6/8 time. Here, aside from a brief respite about half way through, the momentum is maintained by the use of rapidly repeated notes and chords, accents, and rhythms of ‘two against three’. Whereas the first piece ends quietly in low register in Bloch’s meditative key of C major, the second concludes fortissimo in high tessitura with a passage in the Lydian and Phrygian modes on B. Unlike Night and Paysages, the Two Pieces appear to have no directly programmatic intent.

from notes by Alexander Knapp © 2007

Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch