[ BIS SACD / Hybrid SACD ]
Release Date: Friday 29 December 2017
Robert Schumann composed the Op. 47 Piano Quartet in E flat major in his so-called 'chamber music year' of 1842, immediately after finishing the famous piano quintet in the same key. Despite the proximity in time and tonality, there are clear differences between the two works: the quintet tends more towards a concertante dialogue between the piano and string quartet while the quartet favours equality between the four parts - even if the cello has something of a leading role among the strings.
Some ten years later, the young Johannes Brahms was entrusted with the task of making a piano four-hands arrangement of the quartet, and it is quite possible that this contact with Schumann's chamber music for piano and strings opened his eyes to the potential of the genre. In any case, with its almost inexhaustible motivic abundance and captivating energy Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34, is one of the most often performed works for these forces. Completed in 1864 it had actually started off as a string quintet which Brahms first reworked as a sonata for two pianos before arriving at the final scoring. Performing these two central works in 19th century chamber music is Yevgeny Sudbin and an international group of eminent string players consisting of violinists Hrachya Avanesyan and Boris Brovtsyn, violist Diemut Poppen and cellist Alexander Chaushian.
"Star pianist Yevgeny Sudbin is joined here with four musicians in two keystone chamber pieces. This ensemble brings a wonderful vitality with utmost clarity between the parts. Each of the movements has tempi that is lively but never rushed, brought forth in a crystal clear recording. The slow movements really linger and break the heart." Nicholas Butler
"There's no lack of personalities on display here…here we have a band of equals…The players are thrillingly daring in the Scherzo [of the Schumann], taken at a breakneck tempo with fizzing accents, but though you suspect that Sudbin is the ringleader here, there's plenty of give and take within the group." Gramophone
1-4. Schumann: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello, Op 47
I. Sostenuto assai - Allegr ma non troppo
II. Scherzo. Molto vivace
III. Andante cantabile
IV. Finale. Vivace
5-8. Brahms: Quintet for Piano, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andante, un poco Adagio
III. Scherzo. Allegro - Trio
IV. Finale. Poco Sostenuto - Allegro non troppo - Presto non troppo