Piano Quintet No.1 in A, Op.5
Piano Quintet No.2 in A, Op.81
Goldner String Quartet [Dene Olding & Dimity Hall (violins), Irina Morozova (viola) & Julian Smiles (cello)]
Piers Lane (piano)
Recorded 15-17 April 2009 in Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, UK
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: May 2010
CD No: HYPERION CDA67805
Duration: 67 minutes
A hat-trick of successes for Piers Lane, the Goldner String Quartet, and Hyperion! Following memorable releases devoted respectively to piano quintets by Ernest Bloch and then Frank Bridge (links below), Lane and the Goldner members now turn their attention to Dvořák’s two piano quintets, both in A major.
As before, one is impressed by the teamwork between these five musicians, beautifully captured here in an intimate, faithful and airy recording, Lane leading off the earlier of these Dvořák works with affecting phrases before being answered by Julian Smiles’s expressive cello, the rest of the players then unfolding a sunny and lilting discourse of music with a generous if sometimes turbulent heart. There’s a likeable ease to this account, one with spontaneous fluctuations, Dvořák’s score singing and dancing, but always with purpose – the coda to the first movement is particularly resolute. The Andante sostenuto middle movement is especially heartfelt, these musicians digging deep into its possibilities while preserving that essential Dvořákian quality of naturalness, and rounded-off with an excitingly whirling and red-blooded interpretation of the uninhibited finale – very much from Bohemia’s woods and fields.
Originally composed in 1872, Dvořák revised the first of his piano quintets in 1887, the same year that he composed his ‘other’ (four-movement) A major piano quintet, one of the jewels of the chamber-music literature, here receiving a performance completely worthy of its greatness. Once again it is cello and piano that begin the work, Smiles producing honeyed tone and Lane receptive and productive in his figuration. With all the strings in play, the music leaps off the page in an act of faith, changes of mood (from poetic to fiery) and dynamics encompassed as a single act, the repeat of the exposition (returned to with inevitability) giving the movement its own largesse and an timing-equality with the ‘Dumka’ movement that follows, Lane immediately capturing the sad refrain that opens this diverse creation which develops to expression of great eloquence, these five musicians capturing fully the music’s intensity and loquaciousness. With the scherzo nimbly turned, its trio melting in the mouth in its seductiveness, and a finale exuding joy and clarity without being pushed beyond itself, such pleasurable music-making completes a classic record of wonderful music beautifully played and superbly recorded, the music’s import and detailing so faithfully realised by the interpreters and captured pristinely by the control room.
Whatever Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet give us next, it will be worth listening to.