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Track(s) taken from CDA67381/2

Piano Quintet in C minor


The Nash Ensemble
Recording details: July 2002
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2002
Total duration: 30 minutes 17 seconds


'An entrancing voyage of discovery' (Gramophone)

'This set would draw interest even if it didn't contain five world premiere recordings, such is the quality and insight of the music-making' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Nash’s playing is simply outstanding and makes the best possible case for giving many of these works a permanent place in the repertoire' (The Daily Telegraph)

'In these performances, there is an admirable sense of the discovery of previously unknown music of quality. The recordings are excellent. This is a major and exciting addition to the Vaughan Williams discography. Very strongly recommended' (International Record Review)

'The Nash Ensemble play with their customary blend of flawless perfection and musical insight' (The Times)

'The Nash Ensemble's performances are superb' (The Sunday Times)

'The Nash Ensemble plays these stunning miniatures with all the freshness and excitement of a new discovery' (The Strad)

'exuberant, robust, immensely likeable music (The Nash Ensemble obviously love playing it)' (Classic FM Magazine)

'This revelatory collection of early chamber works by the giant of the 20th-century English style is fascinating and captivating' (The Scotsman)

'The Nash Ensemble play these first performances with passion and aplomb … very good indeed' (BBCi)

'The Nash Ensemble plays with sensitivity, beauty, and taste. It may well have replaced the old Melos Ensemble as my favorite British chamber consort … They have at least two more Hyperion CDs devoted to Vaughan Williams's chamber music (instrumental and vocal), both of high quality. This, I think, is the best of the three, and it's beautifully recorded besides' (Classical Music)

'The Nash Ensemble performs all of this music with boundless enthusiasm and technical assurance … This is a ‘must’ for anyone who cares about Vaughan Williams' (Classics Today)

'Un must pour tous, et un apport fondamental à la discographie' (Répertoire, France)

'les musiciens du Nash mettent leur technique et leur enthousiasme au service d’une matière inégale' (Diapason, France)
Brahms is the shadow looming over the three-movement Quintet in C minor for piano, violin, viola, cello and doublebass, the same instruments required for Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet. Vaughan Williams completed it in October 1903, revised it in August 1904 and again in September 1905, which indicates that he followed Holst’s advice about rewriting. The first performance was at the Aeolian Hall, London, on 14 December 1905. A performance has been traced as late as June 1918 but the axe then fell until the performance in November 1999 at the Royal College of Music. During his work on editing the score, Bernard Benoliel concluded that at one point Vaughan Williams must have performed it using a string band instead of single strings. The big Brahmsian gestures of the first movement certainly invite orchestral treatment. In the Andante, Benoliel detected the mood of the slow movement of Parry’s Fourth Symphony. The expressive romantic melody of the Andante is certainly what Parry would have called characteristic of its composer, all the more because it resembles the song Silent Noon, composed in the same year. The finale is a theme with five variations. Vaughan Williams returned to the theme fifty years later in 1954 when he used it, slightly enlarged, as the theme for the variations finale of his violin sonata. The finale of the Quintet ends quietly.

from notes by Michael Kennedy © 2002

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