Chamber Award

Debussy

Debussy Cello Sonata; Violin Sonata; Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp; Syrinx; Piano Trio

Renaud Capuçon (violin), Bertrand Chamayou (piano), Edgar Moreau (cello), Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Gerard Caussé (viola), Marie-Pierre Langlamet (harp)
Erato 9029577396

Reviewed Christmas 2017

A Noble and Melancholy Instrument

Music for horns and pianos of the 19th century

Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn), Alasdair Beatson (piano)
BIS BIS2228 (hybrid CD/SACD)

Reviewed July 2017

This beautifully thought-through disc has horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill and pianist Alasdair Beatson playing four different pianos and four different horns, all historically appropriate, in a programme ranging through Rossini, Glazunov, Dukas and more. Their warm, easy musicianship makes this edifying and effortlessly enjoyable.

Ligeti

Ligeti Six Bagatelles; Kammerkonzert; Dix pièces pour quintette à vent

Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth
Actes Sud ASM26

Reviewed March 2017

Ligeti’s brilliance, wit and quirky originality are at their most obvious in the wind quintet pieces, while the Chamber Concerto is a major work with a frenetic finale. Les Siècles play it all with exhilarating virtuosity, and utterly seductive wind timbres.

Audio clip: Corrente (Fließend) from Kammerkonzert

 

Smetana Trio

MartinPiano Trios Nos 1-3; Bergerettes

Smetana Trio
Supraphon SU 4197-2

Reviewed June 2016

These are quite simply benchmark performances of these life-affirming works. The Smetana Trio proves hugely responsive to the Czech composer Martinů’s characteristic sprung rhythms, effervescent humour and contrasting moments of introspective lyricism. It’s an intoxicating mixture that leaves you puzzled as to why such incredible music has not yet established itself firmly in the repertory.

Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn String Quartets Nos 5 & 6

Escher String Quartet
BIS BIS-2160 (hybrid CD/SACD)

Reviewed Christmas 2016

Lawes

The Royal Consort
Phantasm
Linn CKD 470 (hybrid CD/SACD)

Reviewed August 2015

Charles I’s favourite composer, William Lawes, killed at the siege of Chester, shows us why the monarch thought so well of him. The music contains adventurous harmonies, infectious dances, humorous twists and captivating colours, and it’s all brought brilliantly to life by the ensemble Phantasm, their sumptuous playing framed by an effortlessly revealing recording. Lawes thoroughly deserves it; this is essential and revelatory.

Bacewicz

String Quartets Nos 1, 3, 6 & 7
Lutosławski Quartet
Naxos 8.572806

Reviewed November 2015

Grazyna Bacewicz is the great unsung heroine of post-war Polish music, a brilliant, individual composer who kept the art of the string quartet vividly alive during the bleakest years of Communist rule. The brilliant young Lutosławskis are captivating in the dancing wistfulness of her first, folk-inflected quartet, the questing, inventive grace of the 1960s works and the irresistible vivacity of No. 3.