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Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
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Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
5:00 AM 25th September 2021
arts

Classical CD Review; Bruch: Piano Trio & Other Chamber Music

Bruch: Piano Trio & Other Chamber Music
The Nash Ensemble
4 Stars

Piano Trio in C minor Four pieces Op 70 Romance, String Quartet No 2 in E major Op 10
Hyperion CDA68343. https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/
Available as an MP3 downloads, iTunes, CD or FLAC and ALAC formats


Bruch, to many, is mainly known for two compositions, his Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor and the Scottish Fantasy, but there is much more to the man, as this disc sets out to prove. He wrote delightful chamber music, and who better to illustrate its qualities, than The Nash Ensemble.

We get exquisite and sensitive playing as they delve into this oeuvre. The Piano Trio with its haunting melody that begins the Trio is well-balanced. It is unusual because in the mid-nineteenth century it was a bold move to start a work with a slow movement. The second movement captures the romanticism of the graceful flowing melody.

Nestled between the Trio and the Quartet are two compositions that show Bruch's skill at writing chamber music.

I was captivated by the Four Pieces composed for the one of the best cellists of Bruch’s time, Robert Hausman, to whom these delightful miniatures are dedicated.

Adrian Brendel, son of the great Alfred Brendel, brings warmth to his beautiful lines as he perfectly interacts with Simon Crawford-Phillips on Piano. The collaboration works well with perceptive, delicate and precision playing. The musical themes are based on folk material from Finland, Scotland (a lilting lovey theme) and Sweden (a rather jolly tune).

These are followed by Bruch’s Romance, which was intended for Maurice Vieux, the father of the modern viola in France who received the dedication; but the first performance was actually given by the great violinist Willy Hess a champion of Bruch’s music.

The Nash’s viola player, Lawrence Power, brings out the rhythmic and dynamic variations. It does, as Tully Potter writes, work well in the piano accompanied version.

With Stephanie Gonley and Jonathan Stone re-joining the Nash Ensemble, the group round off this introduction to Bruch’s chamber music with yet another precise performance - Bruch’s String Quartet No 2 in E.

It has lovely phrasing with the Nash Ensemble giving a fine account from its slow introduction to the vivace of the finale, full of jollity. The string sound has an excellent tone.

The programme notes suggest that this recording of the Piano Trio will open some minds. Well, over to you to decide.