Sibelius: Piano Quintets and Melodramas

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All Music Guide - Mike D. Brownell
Think of composer Jean Sibelius and chamber music -- particularly piano quintets -- is not likely to be the first type of composition to spring to mind. This is regrettable as Sibelius wrote a great deal of successful chamber music and seemed to have a knack for the piano quintet in particular, an ensemble that can be somewhat problematic. This album, with the exception of "A Lonely Ski Trail," features very early works in Sibelius' output. The "G minor Piano Quintet" is certainly the highlight of the album. The five-movement work is quite dark and at times even grave. Although individual movements of the quintet were highly regarded, a complete performance was never ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mike D. Brownell
Think of composer Jean Sibelius and chamber music -- particularly piano quintets -- is not likely to be the first type of composition to spring to mind. This is regrettable as Sibelius wrote a great deal of successful chamber music and seemed to have a knack for the piano quintet in particular, an ensemble that can be somewhat problematic. This album, with the exception of "A Lonely Ski Trail," features very early works in Sibelius' output. The "G minor Piano Quintet" is certainly the highlight of the album. The five-movement work is quite dark and at times even grave. Although individual movements of the quintet were highly regarded, a complete performance was never given during the composer's lifetime. The ensemble heard here succeeds in delivering a truly symphonic sound to the quintet. Although at times a little bright for such a brooding work, clarity would likely suffer if the strings were any warmer. Despite the sometimes thick part-writing, balance is generally quite good. Intonation, for the most part, is acceptable, although there are moments in the higher registers of the strings where chords do not precisely line up. The other two single-movement works for piano quintet heard on this CD are in a completely different character, quite light and playful -- a character captured equally well. The remaining pieces showcase Sibelius' talent for chamber music with the inclusion of voice. The piano trio backdrop provided in the Melodrama from "Nights of Jealousy" is almost Schubertian in its clever painting of the text. Those interested in exploring a different side of Sibelius will certainly find this album appealing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/24/2007
  • Label: Bis
  • EAN: 7318590014127
  • Catalog Number: 1412

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