Chamber Award

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.