Born in 1847, August Klughardt is certainly one of those byway German composers whose "uvre" is quintessentially of the highest order, but whose fame is sadly obscured by other gigantic contemporaries such as Schumann, Brahms and Wagner. Klughardt is not one to be assigned to this or that musical camp, and despite his great admiration for Liszt and Wagner, he chose to forge an independent path. His diversity can be attested in his many pieces of great craftsmanship and melodic content, and his chamber music is no exception.
The Piano Quintet of 1884 is modeled on the famous Op. 44 by Schumann, but Klughardt successfully combines the prevalent symphonic playing style of the day with the finesse of chamber-musical thematic elaboration. The String Quintet in contrast has a rhapsodic opening with some Hungarian overtones, but the work is permeated with many contrapuntal details which give it a stronger touch of originality.
The award-winning Leipziger String Quartet and guest artists Olga Gollej and Julian Steckel give spirited performances full of compelling and detailed playing, and the virtuosic intensity is never allowed to waver throughout. A fine advert for one of Germany's most accomplished yet underrated romantics. The disc is of the usual high standards we have come to expect from this label of grace and quality.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.