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The Classical Explorer

     Piano Quintets: July 2008 Archives

Chamber Music from the Belle Époch

Hyperion 67391

Reynaldo Hahn

Sonata in C Major for Violin & Piano (20:12)
Soliloque et Forlane for Viola & Piano (7:42)
Romance in A Major for Violin & Piano (4:27)
Piano Quartet #3 in G Major (21:57)
Si mes vers avaient des alles (1:53)
Nocturne in E Flat Major for Violin & Piano (5:30)

Stephen Coombs, piano
Ccharles Sewart, violin
Yuko Inoue, viola
Philip De Groote, cello
Hyperion CDA67391 62:01

Hahn was a composer, a conductor, a performer, and a respected music critic. He was most popular before World War I (the Belle Époch) but subsequently fell out of fashion. He was often classified as a mere "salon" composer – with much of his music considered lightweight because it is immediately appealing and accessible. Fortunately for us, his music has come back into favor among recording artists.

If this sonata were not as hauntingly melodious and touching, it would simply be a curiosity, a total musical anachronism. Hahn wrote this sonata in 1926, yet in a blindfold test, one might guess it was sibling to the first Fauré (1877) or Franck (1886) violin sonatas. But the Hahn Violin Sonata is one of those rare gems that can always appeal to the musician and the listener. The form is classical, and the last movement of the sonata reprises the beautiful first movement melody, making a satisfactory arch. The second movement moves lickety-split, amusing and witty – only lasting for slightly over three minutes. This movement is very much in the jolly spirit of the third movement of the Op. 13 violin sonata of Fauré.

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

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

Early Chamber Music

Timpani 1077

Paul Le Flem

Quintet for Piano & Strings in C minor 36:40
Sonata for Violin & Piano (1905) 28:57

Louvigny String Quartet
Alain Jacquon, piano
Timpani 1C1077

Le Flem's quintet sounds like it is a close relative of Ravel's string quartet or Faure's first piano quartet both in tonality and in emotional evocations. This haunting chamber music deserves a wider audience. The playing by Jacquon and the Louvigny String Quartet (Philip Koch & Fabian Perdichizzi, violins; Ilan Schneider, viola; Aleksandr Kramouchin, cello) is excellent, and the entire CD is an impressionist treat.

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

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus ]