Anton Arensky String Quartets; Piano Quintet in G

COMPOSERS: Anton Arensky
LABELS: Sono Luminus
ALBUM TITLE: Anton Arensky
WORKS: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet in D
PERFORMER: Ying Quartet; Adam Neiman


Anton Arensky, a warm-hearted admirer of Tchaikovsky, deserves to be known for more than his Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, the string-orchestra arrangement of the variations at the heart of his Second String Quartet. Both his String Quartets are cannily proportioned, and not far behind those of Borodin or Tchaikovsky in terms of original melody.

The Ying Quartet play beautifully and freely, capturing Arensky’s more introspective, lyric charms and his tenderest sentiments. Unless you want to hear the alternative version of the Second Quartet featuring two cellos, you won’t be disappointed by the suitably dark timbres engaged for its orthodox-style chants here; all colours are naturally captured in the Sono Luminus venue. For the more conventionally big-boned Piano Quintet, the Yings are joined by
a pianist who tailors his sound to their subtleties rather than going for all-out exuberance – though to find his name, Adam Neiman, you’ll need to scour the booklet’s text.


David Nice