Marius Dawn
September 2015

It is rare to find a composer so totally unknown that even specialists have to google his name. The piano quintet on this disc by Russian-born Leo Ornstein (1893-2002—yes, the years are correct!) is an indisputable masterpiece. The 40-minute three-movement work sounds like Franck gone mad or Debussy on speed. The harmonic language is close to Scriabin, but still accessible. The piano part is excruciatingly difficult, yet Hamelin sails through it with aplomb. The Pacifica Quartet are worthy partners and the entire CD is such an overwhelming experience that I urge you to get it so you can brave your way into the originality of this composer's mind.