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Gernsheim: Quatuors Pour Piano No. 1 Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Edge J26181
  • ASIN: B002QXI2JU
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Product Description

Quatuors pour piano n°1 & 2 / Andreas Kirpal, piano - Diogenes Quartett

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a7c69fc) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b81a3fc) out of 5 stars A Fantastic First Recording of Outstanding Music March 11 2010
By Cedric B. - Published on
Verified Purchase
I've got the recordings of Gernsheim's symphonies & cello concerto and they're good, worth having & an occasional listen. These two Piano Quartets are in a whole different class. They are simply outstanding. I own a fair ammount of German and other Romantic era chamber music, especially by off the beaten track composers, but these pieces may very well be the best I've ever heard. They are unique, beautiful, suprising, inventive, tuneful and a joy to listen to. Please, buy this cd. If it sells well maybe they'll record more of Gernsheim's chamber music, which for me can't happen too soon.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aadec24) out of 5 stars Very enjoyable music Feb. 2 2013
By G.D. - Published on
Verified Purchase
Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916) was one of many composers who seem to have left a mark on his native Germany in his day, but who has subsequently been more or less forgotten. A certain comeback was achieved in the late 90s when Arte Nova released his four symphonies, which revealed a first-rate craftsman with plenty of strong ideas, resourcefulness and imagination if not, perhaps, a really original voice. More of his music has appeared over the following years, exploring in particular his chamber music (where he is generally thought to have made his most important contributions). On the disc at hand members of the Diogenes Quartett and Andreas Kirpal give us spirited readings of his first and third piano quartets, and they are very welcome additions to the record catalogue.

The third piano quartet, which opens the disc, was written in 1883 and strongly influenced by the chamber works of his friend Brahms (though more than Brahms, Gernsheim appears to write for four separate instruments to play together, rather than for one ensemble). It is a really enjoyable work with an eventful opening Allegro tranquillo, an almost relentlessly ebullient scherzo, a calm and dreamlike slow movement and an imaginative final Tema con Variazioni that sounds much more like a unified argument than the variations form might suggest. Few of the themes really stick in the listeners mind, admittedly, but there is little chance of a fan of, say, Brahms's chamber music being anything but pleased and impressed by this overall very fine work.

The first quartet, completed in 1864, was among the composer's first major works, and the style is much closer to Mendelssohn with a touch of Schumann. The first movement is particularly impressive, eventful and exciting, full of atmosphere and color. The raging scherzo is thrilling as well, and the slow movement provides an island of calm reflection - though it is admittedly less impressive than the surrounding movements. The finale is cheeky and brilliant with plenty of energy (achieved to a large extent by alternating rhythms). Overall, it is as enjoyable if not even more so than the third quartet. The performances are spirited and energetic throughout, and the sound is good. Overall, this is a rewarding release that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes romantic chamber music - though in the final verdict I would perhaps recommend the symphonies as the primary entry point for those unfamiliar with the composer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8d56fc) out of 5 stars Betwixt Mendelssohn and Brahms – Sunny, Animated, but Average Quality Piano Quartets Jan. 15 2016
By Hexameron - Published on
The reputation of Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916) was that of a conductor, academic, and composer of a categorically Brahmsian vein. His music had staying power until the onset of the Great War, when many conservative Romantics fell by the wayside to modernism. Gernsheim had simply died instead. His legacy was abysmally tarnished because as a Jewish composer his music was maligned in the Third Reich. Chamber music was his passion, but these two piano quartets are generic and underwhelming, especially in light of his magisterial piano quintets.

The Piano Quartet No. 1 in E flat major (1860) is unabashedly youthful and upbeat. This early work (op. 6) is textbook Mendelssohn in form and style, although it brushes shoulders intimately with Brahms. The “Allegro non troppo” begins promisingly with great yearning and vigor and has accretions of heroic triumph, but not much in the way of distinguished thematic content. Fiery energy fuels the scherzo movement and the “Andante con moto” is gently consoling and tender. The spirit of Mendelssohn is evoked in the finale, offering stately counterpoint and lively passages in a mood of optimism. Genuine praise can be uttered for Gernsheim’s craftsmanship, but his melodic chops are sorely lacking here.

To the same extent, the late Piano Quartet No. 3 in F major (1883) is unobtrusive, genial, and well-wrought, but lacking themes that stick in the mind. An expansive and sanguine “Allegro tranquillo” draws open the curtain on this decidedly Brahmsian work. Despite its tempo marking of “Allegro energico e appassionato,” the second movement is emotionally naïve with zesty rhythms and smiling charm. Only in the “Andante cantabile” does Gernsheim get serious, writing very expressively and utilizing prominent thick piano chords to achieve powerful depths befitting Brahms. The finale is a cheerful theme and variations, displaying a limited range of techniques and textures, and not much of the material is memorable.

In spite of my reservations about these piano quartets, the performances are impeccable and bolstered by technical excellence and palpable enthusiasm. The Diogenes Quartet is a first-rate ensemble and I'd also recommend their renditions of the Schubert string quartets.

Bottom line: These piano quartets lack punch and interest for me. You’ll find more to savor in Gernsheim’s far superior piano quintets. Other loftier piano quartets in the style of Brahms include Herzogenberg, Goetz, and Georg Schumann.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8d4b64) out of 5 stars Excellent pieces in a Brahmsian Vein July 2 2013
By J. R. Trtek - Published on
Leaning largely in the same direction as the two reviewers who preceded me here, I can recommend this disc as a fine Brahms substitute. Gernsheim, a German who lived from 1839-1916, often approaches the level of his more accomplished fellow composer. If you find these to your taste, you might also want to try Gernsheim's Violin Sonatas, also available on the Brilliant label. His four symphonies are engaging as well, though so far I've not found them as good as his chamber works. In any case, this disc definitely deserves a listen.

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