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Chamber Music: October 2008 Archives

To Give Pleasure

Hyperion CDA67036

Jean Françaix

"A huit" - Octet for Winds & Strings (20:35)
Divertissement for Bassoon & String Quintet (9:40)
Clarinet Quintet (1977) (24:32)
L'heure du Berger (1947) for Winds & Piano (7:28)

The Gaudier Ensemble
Susan Tomes, piano
Hyperion CDA67036

The clarinet quintet is a very witty work with a toe-tapping first-movement allegro, a clever scherzando a "serious" and dreamy slow third movement followed by a good-humored rondo. The entire clarinet quintet certainly does give much pleasure, and that was Françaix's stated goal for all of his compositions. This is luscious, elegant French music at its very best.

For comical works, however, L'heure du berger (Musique de Brasserie) for winds and piano takes the prize! It is vigorous and laugh-out-loud humorous. Liner notes go on to explain more of the programmatic elements, however, this short work is a stand-alone treat. The opening is guaranteed to make you smile.

The performances on this disc are crisp and clean, and the sound is excellent. Very highly recommended.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - ]

Admired by Schumann & Mendelssohn

Dynamic 418/1-3

Antonio Bazzini

String Quartet #1 in C Major (1864)
String Quartet #2 in D minor, Op. 75 (1877)
String Quartet #3 in E Flat, Op. 76 (1878)
String Quartet #4 in C Major, Op. 79 (1888)
String Quartet #5 in C Major, Op. 80 (1892)
String Quartet #6 in C Major, Op. 82 (1892)

Quartetto D'Archi Di Venezia
Dynamic CD418/1-3 3CDs 2:41

Bazzini, violin virtuoso, teacher, composer, conductor is hardly remembered today except for La Ronde des Lutins (Dance of the Goblins), Op. 25. These six fine string quartets would be a very happy addition to anyone's listening collection of Romantic chamber works. In addition, string players should take note: The four quartets in print are of the playing difficulty of Beethoven Op. 18 #1, and bear not the remotest resemblance to the famous (and technically frightening) virtuoso encore piece "La Ronde des Lutins". The first two quartets sound as if they were inspired by a sunny Mendelssohn, and the later quartets are more in the tradition of Schumann. These are a blend of tuneful, singing, Italian melodies and traditional German string quartet writing.

Watch: Perlman playing La Ronde des Lutins

Sheet music for string quartets #1, 2, 3 & 5 available from Edition Silvertrust and Merton Music.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

[ More sheet music by Bazzini: Sheet Music Plus - ]