- Serenade for violin, viola & cello in C major, Op. 10
- String quartet, No 2 in A minor, Op. 35
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This album is really a treat for listeners on many different levels. First off, it's an excellent live recording; it incorporates all the spontaneity and excitement that comes from playing in front of an audience with the superb sound quality, balance, and intonation that is usually reserved for studio recordings. Next, it's a chamber music performance given by soloists who do not typically perform together -- and it's done well! All too often, collaborations such as this one come across as a battle of musical wills, but such is not the case here. Both works performed on the album possess lucid ensemble playing, unified musical ideas, and tight intonation. The CD also treats listeners to works by two composers who are regrettably under-performed. Ernst von Dohnányi was not only highly influential to future generations of Hungarian composers (including Bartók and Kodály), but also counts Georg Solti among his conducting protégés. His own music is no less enthralling, and the "Op. 10 Serenade" for string trio is a highly energetic work featuring Dohnányi's own brand of chromaticism and nationalistic flair. Arensky's "Op. 35 String Quartet" is most notably unusual for its use of two cellos rather than two violins, giving the composition a distinctively warm sound. The all-star ensemble, featuring guest cellist Lynn Harrell, breathes well-deserved life into both of these compositions. From the vivacious scherzo of the Dohnányi "Serenade" to the lush and flowing melodies of the Arensky, the gamut of emotions and styles is handled easily by this fine group of musicians. Chamber music fans, especially those on the lookout for lesser-known works, will definitely want to check out this album.