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String Quintet Op. 62 Piano SACD, Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 9 2010)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: SACD, Import
  • Label: MD&G Records
  • ASIN: B0040VJU4M
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b3814a4) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
HASH(0x9b383c90) out of 5 stars Questionable Performance of the Powerful Piano Quintet Coupled with a Vivacious String Quartet May 6 2016
By Hexameron - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is always a pleasure to hear a composer writing chamber music influenced a bit by Liszt and Wagner. That is not to say August Klughardt (1847-1902) was a card-carrying member of the New German School. He met Liszt in Weimar and would later champion Wagner, but his affinity for both composers did not color his style exclusively; he was equally receptive to Mendelssohn and Brahms.

The Piano Quintet in G minor is a stunning work and one of the best piano quintets I’ve stumbled upon recently. If Klughardt has a masterpiece this is it. As of writing, there is only one other recording of it by the Pleyel Quartet Cologne on period instruments. Both performances are good, but dissimilar. The Leipzig Quartet is rather timid and poised. I think the Pleyel Quartet Cologne has more fire in its belly. You can hear this in the powerhouse opening movement. A dark ominous cloud hangs over the “Lento” introduction before transitioning to an “Allegro con fuoco” of heated drama and conflict. Liszt’s influence on the piano writing is undeniable and the whole movement has symphonic bearing that comes to the fore in the tense development section. Although I think the piano part benefits from a modern grand, the Leipzig Quartet plays too sweetly and with inappropriate composure. Even when both quartets take a comparable tempo, Pleyel plays the dramatic passages with gusto and urgency.

An equal disparity of approach occurs in the “Adagio,” notable for its divine tranquility and emotional cascading figures on the piano. While the Leipzig does play a full two minutes slower, Pleyel shines because pianist Tobias Koch lends such expressivity to the accompaniment. Pleyel is suitably aggressive in the gruff and serious "Scherzo," as well, whereas Leipzig is demure. The finale is a rousing finish to a great piano quintet, full of life-affirming brio and several contrapuntal episodes including a fugue.

The String Quintet in G minor (1890) is receiving its first recording. While not as memorable as the piano quintet, it is still a winning piece with two strong outer movements. It starts with a virtuosic violin cadenza before establishing a somber and impassioned atmosphere. Next is a songful and serene “Andante” interrupted by fast dizzying dances and contrapuntal interludes. A rustic minuet follows, but Klughardt reserves his punch for the finale. This “Allegro vivace” is distinctly Hungarian in flavor and employs a peasant folk dance that I found endearing and toe-tapping. The violins get the most interesting material: zesty grace notes, pizzicati, piercing high strings, and a virtuosic coda. Thematic material from the other movements are quoted and the somber theme of the first movement serves as a bookend.

Bottom line: The Piano Quintet in G minor is an impressive work of dramatic weight and expressive force, guaranteed to please those who like Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. The Leipzig Quartet chooses a slower and softer approach with sweet intonation on the strings. I much prefer what the Pleyel Quartet Cologne does in their rugged and impassioned performance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b921ce4) out of 5 stars It's like hearing more Schumann Dec 25 2012
By Mr. Slattery - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you enjoy Schumann and the Romantic era, you should also enjoying this. The ensemble's playing is first rate. It's worth every penny.

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