Chausson: Concert in D for Piano, Violin & String Quartet; Piano Quartet in A

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COMPOSERS: Chausson
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Concert in D for Piano, Violin & String Quartet; Piano Quartet in A
PERFORMER: Pascal Devoyon (piano), Philippe Graffin (violin), Toby Hoffman (viola), Gary Hoffman (cello); Chilingirian Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66907
It is easy to understand why Chausson’s Concert is not as regular a feature of concert programmes as, say, Franck’s Violin Sonata. After all, a work for piano, violin and string quartet must surely have an instrumental imbalance. How can Chausson occupy all three violin parts for nearly forty minutes? In short, he does not. Nor does he try. Much of the Concert is essentially a sonata for violin and piano with an accompanying, though essential, string quartet. Chausson’s refusal to involve the quartet at every juncture merely to justify the players’ fees results in a signally well-balanced late Romantic work. When the quartet does feature on an equal footing, the effect is all the more telling.

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The fingerprints of Franck can be detected readily throughout the Concert, but in this and the Piano Quartet, Chausson’s individuality overcomes his teacher’s influence. Indeed, there are premonitions of Debussy, Ravel and even Shostakovich. Tangibly the product of live performances, these accounts traverse the gamut of emotions, bristling with energy, lyricism and conviction, and ensuring that this disc will never gather much dust. Christopher Dingle