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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDD22053
Recording details: March 1996
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 1997
Total duration: 22 minutes 30 seconds

'I can't imagine [Susan Tomes's] playing will be surpassed in its sense of style and finesse. Much the same must be said of The Gaudier Ensemble who are little short of superb … it is all hugely enjoyable and well recorded, with very present and finely detailed sound. Recommended with enthusiasm' (Gramophone)

'Cherish this glowing collection of near-masterpieces, played with the utmost sensitivity and panache by the Gaudiers and the always wonderful Susan Tomes' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Piano Quintet comes off marvellously and compares favourably with any performance on record, past or present … delightful performances on which it would be difficult to improve, and excellent recordings too' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'This is very fine chamber music playing indeed. Delightful music played in exactly the right spirit' (Classic CD)

'The Gaudier Ensemble is flawless, unfailingly persuasive and play with both vigour and polish which makes this issue irresistible … it is difficult to conceive of better performances than these; each of the players … combines to the highest degree a virtuoso command of his or her instrument, a complete involvement in the score at hand, and perfect blending in ensemble. Hyperion's recording is as pure and natural as one could wish. Even the booklet is a model of what such things should be … any serious collector who has not yet encountered this music should search for this disc ASAP' (Fanfare, USA)

'Superbe' (Diapason, France)

Piano Quintet No 1 in C minor
composer
1853

Allegro molto  [6'42]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
As his orchestral works went unplayed, Berwald turned naturally to chamber music. The Piano Quintet No 1 in C minor was completed in December 1853 and was among a number of chamber works with piano that were inspired by his talented young protégé, Hilda Thegerström (the dedicatee of both this quintet and the piano concerto written two years later). Although she played it in private, the first public performance, as we have already noted, did not take place for a further forty years, though the work was published in 1856. Berwald’s first attempt at a piano quintet had, in all probability, come in the late 1840s or early 1850s. A fragment from a quintet in A major, comprising a larghetto and scherzo, survives, and from this autograph all of the first movement has been torn except for the last few bars which are the same as those of the corresponding movement of the second quintet (1857). Berwald was an inveterate self-borrower and the finale of the C minor quintet includes material from the symphonic poem Wettlauf (‘Racing’) of 1842. As was the case in earlier works such as the Septet and the Sinfonie singulière Berwald makes use of an innovative formal device and incorporates a scherzo into the body of the opening allegro movement, furthermore quoting its theme again in the finale.

from notes by Robert Layton © 1997

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