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CD Review

Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia

Complete Piano Trios, Volume 3

  • Andante with Variations in B Flat Major, Op. 4
  • Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 5
  • Larghetto in G Major, Op. 11
Thomas Selditz, viola
Stanislau Anischanka, double bass
Trio Parnassus
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG3031549-2 72m DDD
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Born in 1772, Louis Ferdinand is considered as one of the few composers related to the early German Romantic movement. His music anticipates the tonal language of Schubert and Schumann, and years later, the latter had this to say about him: "Some perhaps recall that most romantic of all princes and the quartets which ensure him a permanent place in the history of music".

Indeed, one of the works that Schumann was referring to is precisely on this disc; the Piano Quartet Op. 5 which together with the "Andante" Op. 4 and the "Larghetto" Op. 11 complete the programme. All three pieces were composed in a flurry of inspiration during 1806, the year in which Louis Ferdinand died fighting in the Battle of Saalfeld aged just 34.

All three works are abundantly tuneful and punctuated by a prominent piano part which reveals the Prince's love of the instrument and his immense ability on the keyboard. Passionate passages also abound, reflecting Louis Ferdinand's all-consuming love for Pauline Wiesel with whom he was madly infatuated at the time. The composer's natural gift for form and structure are also evident throughout. The compelling performances are abundantly convincing and the invigorating music making is impressively joyful. Superb notes and sonics complete this wonderful third MD&G volume dedicated to this rather obscure but nonetheless intriguing 19th century voice.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech