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aBritish Symphonies
4CDs £16 post-free


W.S. Bennett, Rootham, Moeran,
Bax, Rubbra, Rawsthorne, Berkeley
Alwyn, Grace Williams, Arnold, Wordsworth. Searle, Joubert

Van Dieren Chinese Symphony
Searle Symphonies 3, 5
Shaw Piano Concertos 1 and 2

£11.75 post-free

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Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

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Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902)
Piano Quartet in C minor, Op.77 (1884) [30:51]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Piano Quartet in F minor, Op.2 (1823) [22:30]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op.47 (1842) [25:39]
Leipzig Piano Quartet
rec. March 2012
QUERSTAND VKJK 1222 [78:57]

It would be overstating the case to say that Salomon Jadassohn is undergoing a recorded renaissance, especially as he never featured in the catalogues in the first place. Nevertheless, his music is slowly being discovered, and this is the second disc that Iíve reviewed that features it. This music sets him firmly in his Leipzig context, offering a sequence of three piano quartets, of which Jadassohnís is by some way the latest.
It was written in 1884, when the composer was in his early 50s, but those who know something of his music will expect Mendelssohnian inheritance, and so it largely proves. Much of the writing, confident, surely laid out and highly approachable, has decided echoes of the composer who had died when Jadassohn was sixteen. Itís not Mendelssohnís own Piano Quartet that Jadassohnís reminds me ofóas this was a very early work and not wholly characteristicóbut rather his Op.66 Piano Trio. There is a striking similarity in terms of some of the first movement figuration but of more significance is its general ethos, not least in a decidedly Mendelssohnian scherzo. The slow movement gains in ardour and one feels some Schumann influence here, whilst thereís a stormy, romantic finale, though a stern critic might note that it lacks true melodic distinction.
As suggested, Mendelssohnís contribution to the genre was an early one, written when he was fourteen, and only his Op.2. It has a youthful brio and is, naturally, very adeptly laid out, and the balance between strings and piano is well judged; so too the thematic material and its distribution. The quartet is at its best in the capricious finale where rhythmic buoyancy reigns. Schumannís Op.47 Piano Quartet has long since entered the core repertory. The Leipzig Piano Quartet plays this persuasively, taking taut tempi and ensuring clarity of texture. They take a flowing speed for the slow movement, acknowledging the cantabile qualifier and ensuring that this movement is not indulged, rather having a sense of lyric fluidity.
Throughout, in fact, they play with good corporate tone and sensitive ear for balance and textual matters. I canít find out where they were recorded but the location was a very acceptable one.
Jonathan Woolf