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The Classical Explorer

   with Piano: August 2008 Archives

Piano Quartets of Swiss Extraction

CPO 777278

Paul Juon

Piano Quartet, Op. 50
Piano Quartet "Rhapsodie", Op. 37

Oliver Triendl, piano
Daniel Gaede, violin
Hariolf Schlichtig, viola
Peter Bruns, violoncello
CPO 777278-2

Born in Moscow of Swiss descent, taught by Arensky and S. Taneyev, and called by an unknown critic "the missing link between Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky" (see the International Juon Society website), Paul Juon had a unique voice, a synthesis of many styles and national elements from Schumann to Sibelius. This is emotion-rich Romantic music but it is never saccharine. There is always an edge to even the most dramatic music, especially the most somber Adagio lamentoso of the Op. 50 Piano Quartet. The more popular (and more often recorded) Rhapsodie is lighter and more accessible, and both works are worth repeated hearings.

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

[ Parts for the Rhapsodie can be found at Edition Silvertrust ]

Not The Planets

Chandos 9077

Gustav Holst
Quintet in A Minor for Piano & Winds, Op. 3
Wind Quintet in A Flat Major, Op. 14

Gordon Jacob
Sextet in B Flat Major for Piano & Winds, Op. 6

Anthony Goldstone, piano
Elysian Wind Quintet
Chandos CHAN9077 53:08

Holst wrote in a number of genres, but is too often regarded as a one-hit wonder because of the popularity of The Planets. The two works on this CD are early pieces in which he is still finding his way, but they are interesting in rounding out our perception of a composer better known for his orchestral writing; already there are folksong elements appearing.

Jacob is better known as an arranger of other people's music. This sextet, written many years after the Holst works, sounds a little like Hindemith and the piano writing very much like Prokofiev. A whole CD of Jacob's chamber music on Dutton Epoch CDLX7177 is well worth investigating.

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

[ Sheet music by Holst: Sheet Music Plus -
Sheet music by Jacob: Sheet Music Plus - ]