Schubert Ensemble of London

Martinu: Piano Quartet; Oboe Quartet; Duo No. 2 & Others

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A light, lovely, and altogether unlikely disc of Martinu's chamber music, this recording by London's Schubert Ensemble is a pure delight. Two of the works here, the Piano Quartet and the Piano Trio No. 3, have received a fair number of recordings, though none better than these, while two of the works, the Quartet for oboe, violin, cello, and piano and the Duo for violin and cello, have hardly any recordings at all. Part of what makes these performances great is the vivacious virtuosity of the English group. Martinu's characteristically angular but lyrical lines, buoyant but driving rhythms, and sweet but pungent harmonies are all portrayed with amazing verve and accuracy. Another thing that makes them great is the effortless understanding the Schubert Ensemble brings to the music. While Martinu's chamber music is not known internationally, the performers play it as if they've known it all their lives and plumb the depths of his slow movements as surely as they scale the heights of his fast movements. Recorded in clear, colorful, and very vivid sound by Chandos, this disc will please Martinu's fans, and perhaps even attract new ones.

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