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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67512
Recording details: July 2004
St Paul's School for Girls, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2005
Total duration: 26 minutes 34 seconds

'This is music which could certainly appeal to those who are attracted by Russian Impressionism, or by Scriabin's piano works, especially in these performances. They are led by Stephen Coombs, author of an informative insert-note, who is undaunted by the intricacies Catoire wishes upon his pianist' (Gramophone)

'Catoire demands a high degree of virtuosity and an ear for instrumental colour, both of which he receives here in performances of verve and panache' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The members of Room Music play the entire programme with a committed advocacy that can only assist Catoire's long-delayed emergence into the light. It makes a logical complement to Marc-André Hamelin's Hyperion recording of his piano music (CDA67090), while its greater timbral variety might provide an even better introduction to Catoire's singular achievement' (International Record Review)

'Catoire is a forgotten man of late-19th and early-20th-century Russian music. A maverick Wagnerian in his youth, he found success as a teacher, but since his death has suffered almost total neglect as a composer. Yet his music, which mixes the spaciousness of Franck with the organisation of Brahms and the expressive freedom of Rachmaninov, is extraordinary' (The Sunday Times)

'Catoire's Piano Trio is reminiscent of Rachmaninov, while the Piano Quartet owes more to Scriabin. Fluent performances of both by this enterprising ensemble' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The performances are uniformly excellent, and as persuasive as can be. There's a passion and intensity here that clearly betokens a belief in this music; and the sheer beauty of sound evoked by Inoue and De Groote deserves to be heard for that alone' (Fanfare, USA)

Piano Trio in F minor, Op 14
composer

Allegro moderato  [9'50]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Catoire’s Piano Trio in F minor, Op 14, was written in 1900. It is the first of a series of important chamber works, an extremely impressive and confident composition which enjoyed some popularity before the Russian Revolution. The musical language is drawn from Tchaikovsky and Arensky though some passages, especially in the first movement, remind one of Rachmaninov’s early works. Throughout, the writing is highly virtuosic – a hallmark of much of Catoire’s output. Indeed, the piano part has a panache and character more normally encountered in a piano concerto of this period.

The first movement opens with a dark and soaring theme of considerable beauty reminding us of Catoire’s undoubted gift for melody. Despite the shoals of notes in the piano part, Catoire is always careful to ensure that equality between the three instruments is maintained. The second movement scherzo, with its strong element of fantasy, has a restless quality enhanced by Catoire’s skilful use of irregular bar lengths. The central section is a fantasy of another kind: resembling a Russian folksong its soulful character again exploits irregular bar lengths especially that of five beats – a metre often used by Arensky and so prevalent in Russian folk music. The third movement finale is truly a tour de force. Intense and driven, once again Catoire piles on the technical demands – most especially in the piano part. The final presto coda makes a thrilling and scintillating conclusion to a work which would surely find many admirers in the concert hall.

from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2005

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