30 NOVEMBER 2016


The albums below are "Classical Releases Of Current Key Significance," or "CROCKS", if you will. To purchase an album, simply click on one of the Web site retail outlets given in the "AVAILABILITY" table under the write-up.

The album cover may not always appear.
Folkertsma: Stg Qts 1 & 2; In Memoriam... (stg qt), Andante (vc & pno), Romance (vn & pno); Soloists/Vondel Qt [Aliud]
Born and trained in the Netherlands, Paulus Folkertsma (1901-1972) spent most of his career as a teacher, but would also manage to write over a hundred works in a variety of genres. As performed here, five in the chamber music category fill out this new release from Aliud, and judging from the quality of this music it's hard to believe he was entirely self-taught. These are the only recordings of them currently available on disc.

The program begins with the first of his two numbered string quartets written when he was only twenty-five (1926). In four movements, this opens with a classic sonata form allegro [T-1] based on two themes. The insistent initial one starts with a catchy rhythmic riff (CR) [00:02] that will infect the entire quartet, and is followed by a pleading countersubject [00:24]. They're explored [01:14], recapped [02:32], and hints of them initiate an exultant closing coda [04:42].

A lovely andantino [T-2] comes next. This is a rhapsodic rondo based on a lullaby-like tune (LT) having frequent intimations of CR. It's succeeded by a tiny scherzo [T-3], in which CR is the basis for a flighty opening, and then reworked into a rowdy big tune [00:33], concluding the movement boisterously.

The final vivace [T-4] is a whirlwind sonata-rondo with three CR-spiked themes. While the first two are respectively vivacious [00:00] and angular [00:22], there's a graciousness about the third that brings Mozart's (1756-1791) dances (1787-1791) to mind. All then play a game of developmental tag, bringing this youthful masterpiece to a rousing conclusion.

Three years later Paulus wrote a moving miniature for cello and small orchestra simply titled Andante (1929) [T-5]. The version here is set to a keyboard accompaniment realized from the original score by our pianist, Johan Bijhold. The work is in the romantic tradition, which the composer adhered to all his creative life despite the modernistic upheavals taking place around him.

Between 1931 and 1943 Folkertsma composed his second quartet, which is also in four movements. The last two exist in outline form, and we have musicologist Dirk Meijer to thank for reconstructing them, thereby making this recording possible.

A more adventurous work, the initial allegro [T-6] has a melodic flow and harmonic density recalling Brahms' (1833-1897) string quartets (1865-75). It begins with a somber pensive theme (SP) [00:01] that's explored, and followed by a descending songlike idea (DS) [02:15]. The latter is elaborated, and then SP returns [04:23], after which the movement ends in the same spirit it began.

The contrasting central ones are a capricious vivace [T-7] and oneiric andante [T-8]. The former is a set of variations on a spirited SP-related theme. On the other hand, the latter is a highly chromatic offering that brings to mind Alban Berg's (1885-1935) works for string quartet (1910-26). Then a magnificently constructed fuga movement [T-9] based on a DS-derived subject [00:00] concludes the work.

Another short selection titled Romance (1925) is next [T-10]. Originally scored for violin and small orchestra, once again Johan Bijhold (see above) gives us this version with a piano accompaniment. At a little over five minutes it's a violin showpiece that begins with a reverent theme for the soloist (RT) [00:00]. This undergoes a series of transformations that vary in temperament from lullaby-like [01:29], to twitchy [01:59], rustic [02:21] and venatic [03:51]. Then RT returns [04:21] to end the work much like it opened.

Concluding the program, we have In Memoriam for string quartet (1943) [T-11], which honors three Allied pilots who crashed in Friesland, Netherlands, during World War II (1939-45). This moving tribute is again Brahmsian, but as the album notes point out, there are transcendental tonal progressions reminiscent of Benjamin Britten's (1913-1976) works. It's a powerful conclusion to a delightful disc of discovery, which will almost certainly be a CLOFO "Best Find" of 2016.

The featured artists are members of the Vondel Quartet along with cellist Jos Teeken (Andante) and pianist Johan Bijhold (Andante & Romance). They give deeply felt accounts of this music, which make it easy to overlook some intonationally queasy spots in the quartet selections.

Made two years ago at Johannes Church (Johanneskerk), Oosthem, Netherlands, the recordings project a wide sonic image in reverberant surroundings with the players well positioned and balanced. The string tone is on the steely side, while the piano seems well captured, but there is some pedal action noise, particularly in the Romance. However, with music this rare, we're lucky to have what's here.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P161130)


The album cover may not always appear.
Reznicek, E.: Konzert... (vn & orch), Goldpirol…, Wie Till…, Prel... (orch), Nacht... (vn & orch); Jaffé/Bosch/Ber RSO [CPO]
CPO has given us all of Austrian-born Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek's (1860-1945) numbered symphonies (see 4 October 2014), and with this recent release they turn to five of his shorter orchestral works. These are the only recordings of them currently available on disc.

Written between 1898 and 1918, all postdate his opera Donna Diana (1894), whose overture (see 31 May 2015) remains his best-known work. They represent the composer's second creative period, in which those familiar with his earlier music will find him more adventurous.

Proceeding chronologically, we first have a selection from his opera Till Eulenspiegel (1898-1900; currently unavailable on disc), which is in two acts followed by a postlude. Titled Wie Till Eulenspiegel lebte (How Till Eulenspiegel Lived), it's billed as a "Sinfonische Zwischenspiel in Form einer Ouvertüre" ("Symphonic Interlude in the Form of an Overture") [T-2], and comes between the opera’s concluding sections.

Like Richard Strauss' (1864-1949) eponymous tone poem of three years earlier (1894-5), this is a symphonic characterization of Till. Some three minutes shorter than its famous predecessor, it starts with gallant trumpet calls and some playful short motifs. A couple of folklike melodies follow, one of which seems to be Till's tune (TT) [01:50].

All this gives way via stormy passages [04:25] to an introspective episode with amorous overtones possibly related to his wife Gertrudis [04:51]. The heroic section that follows [07:14] builds into a triumphal Straussian waltzlike episode [08:43]. Then we hear TT [09:36], and the interlude escalates excitedly into a festive conclusion.

The composer was a nature enthusiast, and the year 1903 saw him complete Goldspirol -- Idyllische Ouvertüre, (Golden Oriole -- Idyllic Overture) [T-1] while vacationing with his family near the Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps. It begins with a perky five-note motif (PF) [00:01] based on the cry of the bird in the title. PF is explored and succeeded by what could be a local village dance (LV) [01:14].

LV is the basis for a pastoral episode with more avian calls, after which references to PF [02:52] introduce a convoluted development of the foregoing. There are allusions to hunting horns [04:31], and a rustic number with quaint intermittent rhythmic thumps [beginning at 04:40].

Then the music turns nocturnal and introspective [05:59] until more PFs [06:34] announce what must be another day. This is a richly scored recap of the work's opening succeeded by a rhapsodic episode [09:22]. It has some lovely big tunes based on previous ideas, and ends this nature poem contentedly.

Moving ahead to 1905 there's Nachtstück für Violine und kleines Orchester (Night Piece for Violin and Small Orchestra) [T-8]. Lasting about nine minutes with an accompaniment scored for four horns, harp and strings, this is a captivating, heartfelt Reznicek miniature! While there's a “salonesque” sweetness about the main melody, it's handled with such restraint that there's never a hint of sentimentality. Moreover, Mahler's (1860-1911) more intimate moments come to mind.

Emil's musical education included extensive studies of J.S. Bach's (1685-1750) works (see Safaian recommendation below). It may explain why he wrote a couple of preludes and fugues for full orchestra, the second of which in C sharp minor dating from 1912 is presented here. This version on this disc has a revised ending the composer did soon after writing it.

The prelude [T-6] has anxious sections interspersed with a comely folklike melody [01:08 & 03:01]. Then the fugue begins [T-7] with subdued strings stating its somber main subject (SM) [00:00], and the music swells dramatically into an explosive climax. After that brass-enhanced passages [16:21] announce a commanding final statement of SM worthy of Bruckner (1824-1896), whom Reznicek greatly admired.

In 1918 Emil wrote two works for violin and orchestra. The first titled Konzerstück im E major (Concert Piece in E Major) was followed by Konzert im E minor (Concerto in E minor). Not entirely satisfied with the earlier one, the later (currently unavailable on disc) was in some respects a revision of it, and achieved some popularity at the time. As for the other, it was soon forgotten until this recording. And none too soon, considering it’s a thoroughly engaging, significant contribution to the violin concerto genre.

In three movements, the opening allegro [T-3] is a lively undertaking with a couple of jaunty themes that smack of Mendelssohn (1809-1847). This ends with some virtuosic flourishes, and then transitions agilely into an exceptionally beautiful slow one [T-4].

Somewhat along the lines of Nachtstück... from thirteen years earlier (see above), there's a pastoral air that may again reflect the composer's love of nature. It contains an ethereal cadenza [03:03-04:15] with some stratospheric, at times barely audible high notes for the soloist. The movement’s concluding measures find Reznicek at his best [06:26].

Then the work ends with a lively allegro [T-5] that begins with a spry tutti introduction. It's quickly followed by a rousing folk tune (RF) for the violin, which the composer borrowed from bonnie Scotland [00:10]. This colorfully scored music has the soloist dancing with the orchestra, and playing a couple of virtuosic cadenzas. It also features a lovely RF-related countermelody (LR) [02:12] of Highland persuasion. The work then concludes with a bit of fancy fiddling succeeded by a reminder of LR [06:49] and some thrilling final moments for everyone.

Our solo violinists are Erez Ofer in Nachtstück... and Sophia Jaffé for Konzerstück…. Along with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) under conductor Marcus Bosch, they make a strong case for these undeservedly forgotten pieces. That also goes for the three other selections, which the BRSO musicians seem to relish.

These recordings were a coproduction of CPO and Deutschlandfunk (DLF) done two years ago in Berlin Radio's Saal 1. They project a wide soundstage in reverberant surroundings with the soloists well captured and balanced against the orchestra. Listeners liking wetter sonics will love this disc, while those preferring a drier, more sharply focused image may find it wanting. Incidentally, some of the pauses between tracks are quite long.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P161129)


The album cover may not always appear.
Safaian: ÜberBach (5 Concs & Modulation aft J.S. Bach); Knauer/Schumacher/ZurCh O [Neue Meister]
One of the best-selling classical albums of all time was the Columbia Records LP titled Switched-On Bach (1968) featuring Walter/Wendy Carlos (b. 1939) playing J.S. Bach (JSB; 1685-1750) goodies on a Moog synthesizer. Those who loved it will find this recent CD from the progressive, Swiss-based Neue Meister label a must. Baroque enthusiasts not familiar with that legendary vinyl blockbuster are in for a real treat with this new JSB-related disc.

It has five concertos and a short selection called Modulation that are all Bach-inspired, and written earlier this year by Iranian-born, German-trained-and-based composer Arash Safaian (b. 1981). The concerto movements are after a variety of JSB works, which are referenced in parenthesis following their titles. The scoring is for piano, vibraphone, synthesizer and a small string orchestra.

The first concerto is marked Infinite Games, which may refer to its waggish nature. In five movements, the initial "I. Halleluja" (Cantata 142: Chorus "Alleluia", BWV 142) [T-1] gets the work off to an apocryphal albeit spirited start as it's based on a piece that may have been written by Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722), who preceded Bach as Cantor at Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church), Leipzig.

Here the piano launches into a thrilling vibraphone-tinted, toccata-like descant over the melody in the strings. Next synthesizer and vibraphone spell the piano for a reserved "II. Canon in C" (Canon trias harmonica, BWV 1072) [T-2]. This is followed by "III. Empty Set" (Cantata 54: Aria "Widerstehe doch der Sünde", BWV 54) [T-3], in which piano and strings conduct a thoughty discourse.

Then we get the only movement for solo piano on the disc, which is a cadenza-like "IV. Prelude in C" (Notebook for W.F. Bach: Prelude in C major, BWV 924) [T-4]. Here the pianist delivers a leisurely rendition of the referenced work, which leads directly into the concluding “V. In Midair" (St. John Passion: Chorus "Lasset uns den nicht zerteilen", BWV 245) [T-5]. This is from the same melodic mold as the preceding movement, and waxes into a gorgeous outpouring, only to suddenly quit just as the title implies!

The next concerto marked "As Above So Below" has only three movements. The initial "I. Folia" is a jolly, rambunctious amalgam of JSB ideas (Cantata 21: Chorus "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis", BWV 21 & Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude in C minor, BWV 847 & St. John Passion: Chorus "Jesum von Nazareth", BWV 245) [T-6]. It has another of those "In Midair" endings (see above).

A lovely laid-back "II. Sinfonia" (Cantata 21: Sinfonia, BWV 21) [T-7] is a moving arrangement where the oboe in the original is replaced by piano and vibraphone. Then the work ends with "III. Prelude in C Minor" (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1: Prelude in C minor, BWV 847) [T-8]. This starts with a commanding piano and sweeping strings only to become meditative, ending the concerto tranquilly.

The following short selection called Modulation is subtitled "Looping Bach" [T-9], and there are no specific JSB references listed. For the full complement of instruments, it’s an engaging Safaian creation in the style of Bach with spiraling chromatic passages.

Moving right along we get a two-movement concerto titled "Fuge Like a Passion", whose opening is "I. Canon in G" (Canon super fa mi a 7 post tempus musicum, BWV 1078) [T-10]. It's a mesmerizing piece for strings and vibraphone followed by "II. Little G" (Fugue in G Minor, "Little", BWV 578) [T-11]. This is a catchy arrangement for all the instruments based on a JSB organ favorite with one of his best-loved tunes (BL).

It gets off to a minimalistic start hinting at BL, which soon appears in the piano [01:49]. BL is then picked up by everyone else, and the music turns into a romantic romp. Towards the end the pianist belts out BL, concluding the concerto emphatically.

The fourth one is marked "Newton's Law". This apparently reflects Safaian's belief that Bach's approach to music resembles Sir Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) to science (see the album notes).

Also in two-movement, "I. Choral Prelude" (Little Organ Book: Chorale Prelude on "Herr Gott, nun schleuß den Himmel auf", BWV 617) [T-12] starts with the piano intoning the referenced chorale (RC). Then vibraphone and strings join in giving us an undulating episode succeeded by violin glissandos [02:24] and busy bridging passages. They usher in a more direct statement of RC by the strings [03:00] to close the movement piously.

Last there's "II. Fuga XX" (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2: Fugue in A minor, BWV 889) [T-13], which starts with a somber liquescent vibraphone invoking the fugue's main subject. Then piano and strings take up the tune, and contrapuntally manipulate it. After that the movement comes to a quiet conclusion much in the same spirit it began.

The fifth and final concerto, again a two-movement work, opens with "I. Aria" (Cantata 170: Aria "Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelunlust", BWV 170). Here Safaian turns Bach's winsome melody into an endearing rhapsody for piano and strings.

Then there's "II. Toccata" (Toccata and Fugue in D minor "Dorian": Toccata, BWV 538), which is generally in ternary form. Moreover, it has a nervous beginning for scurrying piano and strings based on the first part of JSB's organ classic. That's succeeded by a pensive, questioning central section [03:18] and recollections of the movement's agitated opening [06:13]. The concerto then ends with an interrogatory note for the high strings.

This old wine in new bottles is commendably served up by pianist Sebastien Knauer, vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher, Safaian on synthesizer, and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra (ZKO) strings under their concert master Willi Zimmermann. Their careful attention to dynamics, phrasing and rhythmic detail bring out all the intricacies of these elegant works.

Made at the ZKO Haus, Zurich, Switzerland, the recordings project a well-focused sonic image for an ensemble this size in a warm acoustic. The piano is in the center with synthesizer and vibraphone to left and right, and the strings in a semicircle behind them.

The soloists are well captured and highlighted with some arresting lows from the synthesizer [T-11]. All three are well balanced against the strings, which are generally natural sounding except for a hint of "digitalis" in forte passages. On that note, the album is also available as an LP, where this may well be less pronounced. Accordingly, those with turntables may want to opt for that format.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P161128)


The album cover may not always appear.
Stanford, C.: Stg Qts 5 & 8; Joachim, J.: Romance (Op. 2, No. 1; Vn & Pno); Bebbington/Dante Qt [SOMM]
Irish-born, British-German-trained composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924); see 22 November 2011) left a significant number of works in every genre. While his seven symphonies have been on CD for some time, as of this writing only the first two of his equally accomplished eight string quartets are so represented. The enterprising SOMM label now helps fill that gap with the release of the fifth and eighth. Hopefully more will follow in the not too distant future.

Sir Charles was a close friend of the legendary Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), whose death in 1907 greatly saddened Stanford. Before the year was out he honored him with the fifth quartet, which is accordingly marked "In memoriam Joseph Joachim".

What's more, Stanford makes reference in each of its four movements to a selection written by Joachim that he often played as an encore. This is the first of his Three Pieces for Violin and Piano (Op. 2, c. 1850; currently unavailable on disc), which is titled "Romance" (R1), and can be heard right after the quartet [T-5].

The initial modified sonata form "Allegro" [T-1] has a rising-falling introduction [00:03], which hints at the yearning, R1-related first theme (YR) that follows [00:32]. It's succeeded by a wistful countermelody (WC) [01:17], after which YR and WC undergo a pizzicato-introduced development [03:17]. Then there's a working recap [05:31] and closing coda [07:45], where Stanford quotes R1 [08:07], ending the movement nostalgically.

After that the composer gives us a graceful "Intermezzo" [T-2] instead of the usual scherzo. It has gently swaying pensive outer sections surrounding a more lyrical trio [01:52-03:41], and all of the thematic material is R1-derived.

The "Adagio" [T-3] is a grief-stricken elegy with weeping R1-related ideas, and a moving lachrymose fugue [03:03]. There's an intensity here auguring Sir William Walton's (1902-1983) music.

But remorse turns to fond memories of Joseph in the final "Allegro" [T-4] as indicated by more R1 references. There's also a recurring brisk riff [01:31] based on a fleeting finger exercise Joachim always played before coming on stage. Then the music becomes cheerfully animated and thoughtful, presumably ending the quartet with Sir Charles recalling one of the greatest violinists of all times.

Jumping ahead twelve years, there's a rigor and harmonic adventurousness about his eighth and last one (1919). In four movements, the first "Allegro" [T-6] starts with an introductory chord, and questioning five-note motif (QF) [00:01] that will dominate it. QF bridges via stalking passages [01:13] into a comely folklike tune (CF) [01:33], after which these ideas are developed [02:25].

Then we get another of those Stanford working recapitulations [04:42]. Here there's a more pronounced remembrance of CF [05:51], which gives way to a lovely QF-based coda [06:56]. This concludes the movement warmly, and ends in a three-note riff (TR) [07:36] that's a preview of things to come.

The following, quixotic "Allegretto" [T-7] is a virtuosic, scherzo-rondo that's a challenge for any quartet! It opens with TR, which will recur throughout, succeeded by a playful QF-related theme (PQ) [00:05]. PQ is then the subject for several variations of different temperament ranging from gruff to anxious, withdrawn and finally furtive.

A gorgeous "Canzona" ("Song") is next [T-8], which finds Sir Charles at his most romantic. Here a delicate PQ-related melody, which at times hangs by a thread, would seem to conjure up images of a grieving young maiden.

However, the mood momentarily brightens in the opening of the final "Allegro" [T-9], which starts with another of those three-note riffs [00:01], and a folksy ditty (FD) [00:04] in keeping with Stanford's Hibernian roots. This is succeeded by a lyrically introspective melody (LI) [01:20] that's a tad reminiscent of CF (see above).

From this point on the music turns alternately melancholy and vivacious with allusions to past ideas, particularly LI. Then FD introduces a final coda [06:36] in which it's easy to imagine one of those beautiful sunsets over the Emerald Isle.

The Dante Quartet (DQ) gives dedicated accounts of both works, and we can only hope they'll soon give us those not currently represented on disc (Nos. 3, 4, 6 & 7). Their commanding technical ability is used only in service to the music. DQ first violinist Krysia Osostowicz and pianist Mark Bebbington deliver a tender reading of Joachim’s "Romance" [T-5].

The recordings were made last year some 15 miles southwest of London at St. Nicholas Parish Church in Thames Ditton, England. They project a comfortably sized soundstage in intimate surroundings, and will appeal to those liking bright, dry sonics. The musicians are ideally positioned, captured and balanced throughout.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P161127)


The album cover may not always appear.
Thirion: Pno Trio, Stg Qt; Wagschal/Païdassi/Van Kuijk/Stanislas Qt [Timpani]
France's adventurous Timpani label has honored Breton composer Joseph-Guy Ropartz (1864-1956) with a number of releases (see 30 May 2008). And now they give us some chamber music by one of his pupils, Louis Thirion (1879-1966).

Born in Baccarat, France, Louis first took up violin, piano and organ at the nearby Nancy Conservatory (NC). He then studied composition there under Ropartz, and would replace him as director of that institution shortly after World War I (1914-8).

And speaking of that conflict, Thirion’s house as well as his fellow composer Albéric Magnard’s (1865-1914) were burned during it. Consequently, both of them lost their manuscripts, and Magnard his life!

Louis spent his career teaching at the NC, and was active as a composer only from 1900 up through 1920 (see the album notes). Consequently, he left just a handful of significant works, two of which in the chamber category fill out this disc. These are the only recordings of them currently available on disc.

His piano trio dating from 1910 is in four movements with the first marked "Impétueusement" ("Impetuously") [T-1]. It opens with a headstrong theme having an angularity recalling Vincent d'Indy (1861-1931; see 30 June 2015) that’s followed by a placating countermelody. The two undergo a chromatic development, which becomes quite intense, recalling the composer's fellow composer and friend Florent Schmitt (1870-1958; see 9 April 2014). This gives way to a melancholy recap with a scurrying coda that ends the movement in lively fashion.

The next "Pas trop vite" ("Not too quickly") [T-2] is a scherzo. It starts with a sneeze and scampering ditty anticipating Poulenc's (1899-1963) cheekier moments, after which there's an ingratiating trio tune. Then the opening section returns with more sternutation and busy piano decorations, concluding this movement whimsically.

Solemn passages introduce the third titled "Lent" ("Slow") [T-3], and are followed by an amorous melody for the strings having a Pierné (1863-1937; see 11 July 2007) melancholy. This is explored, and then the movement ends gracefully with contemplative strings caressed by affectionate, arpeggiated piano chords.

The final "Joyeusement animé" ("Joyously animated") [T-4] is a vivacious sonata-rondo with two recurring, infectious folklike tunes that are sequentially dancelike (RD) [00:01] and songful [01:12]. They're briefly developed [02:10], and then resurface [04:02 & 04:44], whereupon RD becomes the material for a carefree coda [05:39]. This brings the trio to an invigorating conclusion.

Louis' only string quartet follows, and although the exact composition date is unknown, it was premiered in 1909. A four-movement work, the initial one [T-5] is in modified sonata form, and starts with a languorous, sighing, Scotch snap-accented melody (LS), succeeded by a couple of faster, more optimistic thoughts.

All these ideas undergo an integrated development and recapitulation having a rigorous concision recalling the Ropartz quartets (see 30 May 2008). Moreover, harmonically adventurous passages give rise to music whose mood is alternately aloof and genial with the latter winning out.

The curt scherzo marked "Assez vif" ("Fairly brisk") that follows [T-6] may remind you of the Debussy (1862-1918) and Ravel (1875-1937) string quartets (1893 & 1902-3). This begins with some arresting pizzicato and a fleeting repeated figure. Several winsome ideas then come and go in an animated episode, which gradually slows, ending the movement peacefully.

The "adagio" [T-7] is the longest movement, and takes the form of a harmonically adventurous rhapsody. It's based on an extended chromatic theme that once again brings Florent Schmitt to mind (see above).

And last but not least we get a finale marked "Très animé et véhément" ("Very lively and vehement") [T-8], which many may find the work's highpoint. This is a rollicking rondo with no less than four subject motifs [00:01, 00:26, 01:10 & 01:40], a couple of which resemble ideas in the scherzo. They madly chase each other about, and conclude the quartet exultantly.

Pianist Laurent Wagschal, violinist Solenne Païdassi and cellist Sébastien van Kuijk give a magnificent account of the trio. The Stanislas Quartet, which has already distinguished itself with several groundbreaking recordings of rare French repertoire for Timpani (see 30 September 2012), makes a strong case for the quartet.

Made last year at Salle Poirel in Nancy, France, the recordings present an appropriately sized, well-focused sonic image in a warm acoustic with the instruments ideally placed and balanced. Natural strings and a well-rounded piano tone make for an excellent sounding disc that will appeal to late romantic French chamber music enthusiasts, as well as any audiophiles among them.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y161126)