Goldner String Quartet / Piers Lane

Pierné: Piano Quintet; Vierne: String Quartet

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From the pairing on this 2014 Hyperion release, listeners might suppose that Gabriel Pierné and Louis Vierne were matched up because of the similarity of their names, as well as for certain coincidences in their biographies. Yet when one hears Pierné's Piano Quintet in E minor and Vierne's String Quartet in D minor, the musical similarities become apparent and most significant. Both composers lived in France in the late Romantic period, and the lush, languid style of the fin de siècle is common to both works. Additionally, each was influenced by the music of another composer: in Pierné's case, the gentle lyricism of Gabriel Fauré is evident, while in Vierne's, the style of César Franck is dominant. These parallels may provide some food for thought while listening to the Goldner String Quartet and pianist Piers Lane perform these chamber pieces, but their pleasantness and instant accessibility make them easy to appreciate on first hearing, without any background information. The playing is relaxed and affable, and the performers seem completely comfortable with each other, engaging in repartée that enlivens the sometimes brooding, minor-key quality of the music. While neither the quintet nor the quartet are masterpieces, they are enjoyable, and Lane and the Goldner Quartet give them first-rate performances.

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