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Track(s) taken from CDA67512

Piano Quartet in A minor, Op 31


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: 23 minutes 49 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)
The Piano Quartet in A minor, Op 31, was written in 1916 and is more representative of Catoire’s mature style. Here the virtuosity is of a different order. The rhythmic interplay between the four instruments is complex and fluid, especially in the first movement. The influence of Scriabin can be felt strongly. Catoire was a great admirer of Scriabin’s early and middle-period works, though disapproving of his last works which he described as having an ‘absence of harmonic movement and a tiresome stasis’. Looking at Catoire’s Piano Quartet, one can appreciate what he meant. Here everything is fluid with remarkable harmonic shifts and rhythmic subtlety. Despite the ensemble challenges this work presents, there is a natural, almost organic, quality to the writing and the slow second movement has an astonishing beauty in complete contrast to the violent period in which it was written. The rhapsodic final movement is fleet-footed and poignant. A dream-like atmosphere is only briefly dispelled by a forceful presto passage towards the end – though the music finally subsides into a languid coda.

from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2005

Le Quatuor avec piano en la mineur, op. 31, écrit en 1916, illustre davantage le Catoire de la maturité. La virtuosité y est d’un tout autre ordre, avec un échange rythmique entre les quatre instruments complexe et fluide, surtout dans le premier mouvement. On ressent fortement l’influence de Scriabine, dont Catoire admirait beaucoup les œuvres du début et de la maturité, mais dont il désapprouvait les dernières pièces, qui affichaient, à ses yeux, une «absence de mouvement harmonique et un équilibre lassant». À regarder son Quatuor avec piano, on saisit ce qu’il entendait par là. Tout y est fluide, avec des transitions harmoniques et une subtilité rythmique admirables. Malgré les défis d’ensemble qu’il pose, son écriture renferme une qualité naturelle, organique presque, et le deuxième mouvement lent est d’une beauté stupéfiante, en total contraste avec la période violente à laquelle il fut composé. Le mouvement final rhapsodique est véloce et poignant. L’atmosphère onirique n’est que brièvement dissipée par un énergique passage presto, vers la conclusion – même si la musique finit par s’apaiser en une coda alanguie.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Coombs © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Das Klavierquartett in a-Moll, op. 31 wurde 1916 komponiert und ist ein besseres Beispiel für Catoires reifen Stil. Hier dreht sich die Virtuosität um etwas anderes. Das rhythmische Zusammenspiel zwischen den vier Instrumenten ist komplex und fließend, besonders im ersten Satz. Der Einfluss Skrjabins ist deutlich spürbar. Catoire war ein großer Bewunderer von Skrjabins frühen und mittleren Werken, auch wenn er dessen spätere Werke ablehnte, von denen er sagte, sie zeichneten sich durch einen „Mangel an harmonischer Bewegung und eine ermüdende Stasis“ aus. Wenn man sich Catoires Klavierquartett anschaut, kann man verstehen, was er meinte. Hier ist alles fließend, mit bemerkenswerten harmonischen Wendungen und rhythmischer Raffinesse. Trotz der im Werk vorkommenden Schwierigkeiten des Ensemblespiels gibt es eine natürliche, fast organische Qualität der Fortschreitung. Der langsame zweite Satz offenbart eine erstaunliche Schönheit in völligem Gegensatz zur grausamen Periode, in der er geschrieben wurde. Der rhapsodische Schlusssatz ist schnellfüßig und ergreifend. Seine verträumte Atmosphäre wird nur gegen Ende kurz von einem kraftvollen Presto-Abschnitt gestört – dann erschlafft die Musik in einer schleppenden Koda.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Coombs © 2005
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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