Haydn Quartet / Rudolf Leopold

Goldmark: Streichquartett; Streichquintett

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The music of Karl Goldmark is infrequently performed and seldom recorded, except for his major works, the Violin Concerto in A minor and the Rustic Wedding Symphony, which are still occasionally programmed. Yet this 2015 CD of the String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 8, and the String Quintet in A minor, Op. 9, performed by the Haydn Quartet and guest cellist Rudolf Leopold, is a hopeful sign for Goldmark's admirers. These are the only pieces of their respective genres in Goldmark's catalog, and because of their obscurity, no claim of special significance or influence on other composers can be made for them. But they are charming works of a warm Romantic character that may appeal precisely because they aren't touted as masterpieces of deep profundity or originality. When heard in their proper context, as unassuming parlor music in the style of Schumann and Mendelssohn, they can be appreciated for their ardent melodies and quiet, intimate moods, which the musicians deliver with apparent sensitivity and sympathy. Gramola's recording gives them a fairly close presence and vibrant sound without much grittiness, so the playing is quite smooth and pleasant, despite the rather airless quality of the acoustics.

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