Leipziger Klavierquartett

Salomon Jadassohn, Felix Mendelssohn & Robert Schumann

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Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47, is almost invariably paired with his piano quintet in the same key. But the piano quartet, although certainly related to the piano quintet, was a separate tradition, and it makes just as much sense to combine it in a program with other works for the same forces, as the Leipzig Piano Quartet does here. The big news is the presence of a the Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 77, of Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902). Almost unknown now, he taught at the Leipzig Conservatory, took classes with Liszt, and would have been familiar to German composers in the second half of the 19th century. His quartet is classical in outline but shows a familiarity with Liszt's and Wagner's harmonic discoveries; they are used quite artfully to spice the work (note the move at the end of the Mesto introduction to the opening movement, whose implications are picked up again later on) and to add a sense of restlessness even though the music is not in the least Lisztian. It's a nifty combination, and the Leipzig group catches the appropriate weight of its various parts very nicely. They attempt to project mid-century angst back onto Mendelssohn's youthful Piano Quartet in F minor, Op. 2, and this is not so successful; the tense phrasing of the third Intermezzo movement does not feel right. But for the Schumann it works fine, and the quartet delivers a very fine performance indeed, one unified from start to a very fast and exciting finish. A major Romantic chamber release, well recorded in an unspecified but suitable location.

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