Termed by some to be the "Canadian Mozart," the fervor and adoration that composer André Mathieu's works created during his lifetime did not extend greatly beyond his untimely death in 1968. Among his extensive output were two piano chamber works: the Piano Trio of 1950 and Piano Quintet of 1953, one of the composer's final large-scale works. Both works are very reminiscent of other pieces coming out of the French school some years earlier. Along with the trio and quintet, this Analekta disc also features the Concerto for violin, piano, and string quartet of Ernest Chausson. The unusual title of concerto gives the impression of a larger-scale work being performed by a chamber ensemble, a feat that Chausson accomplishes with successful interplay of the violin and piano against the supportive string quartet. Performing are pianist Alain Lefèvre, members of the Quatuor Alcan, and violinist David Lefèvre (in the Chausson). All of the musicians involved are successful in producing a nicely perfumed, suave environment by using unhurried shifts, broad dynamics, and a fluid but controlled sense of tempo. It's also clear from their intensity that they have a true commitment to elevate these little known works. What's lacking, however, is a polished technical execution. Intonation is sometimes an issue, even between the members of the established Alcan Quartet. Balance and clarity are not thoughtfully planned and some lines of the music get lost. Still, few recordings of these works are available, and listeners may still find merit.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Trio for violin, cello and piano|
|Quintet for piano and string quartet|
|Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet in D major, Op. 21|