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CD Review

Frank Bridge

Chamber Music

  • String Sextet in E Flat Major
  • Lament for Two Violas
  • String Quintet in E minor
The Raphael Ensemble
Hyperion CDA67426 66m DDD
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There is something of a Bridge revival going on in current musical circles with Chandos already in their third volume of orchestral works whilst this fine disc of chamber works can only add to the music now available. We have two rare works, the String Sextet and the première recording of the String Quintet in E minor from 1901 with the mournful Lament sandwiched in between.

The String Sextet is a three-movement work composed over a period of six years but the Raphael Ensemble are definitely a top notch ensemble and find themselves really comfortable in the occasionally ponderous music. There are a few pauses in the Allegro moderato and the final movement is quite thrilling in its peroration.

However, the première recording of the String Quintet is the major piece on disc and it receives an excellent interpretation by the Raphael group. Although this is not a work from the top drawer field, it still has some exquisite touches, especially in the passionate opening movement aptly titled, Allegro appassionato. Fine lithe recorded sound and extensive notes can only serve as added grist to the mill of this excellent release.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech