ALBUM TITLE: Chausson
WORKS: Concert for violin, piano and string quartet, Op. 21; String Quartet, Op. 35
PERFORMER: Jennifer Pike (violin), Tom Poster (piano); Doric String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN10754
Chausson’s Concert is an all-too-scarce treat. Its rarity is not down to taste, but resources: it’s not often you find a string quartet and violin and piano duo together. A hybrid between a violin sonata with added quartet and a chamber concerto, the Concert neither uses the quartet purely as accompaniment nor feels compelled to keep it busy. Everything is at the service of the works’s substantial emotional journey.
Violinist Jennifer Pike, pianist Tom Poster and the Doric String Quartet have done much more than scratch the surface of this piece. They manage the questioning interplay of the first movement superbly, are elegantly lithe in the graceful Sicilienne and driven in the Finale. Nonetheless it is their handling of the gradually building tension in the slow movement, from disquiet to impassioned pleading via reflection and agitatation, that marks this out as an especially fine performance. The dejected stillness of the coda is a masterpiece of hushed control.
Chausson was a few bars from completing the third movement of his String Quartet when he had his fatal cycling accident. Though lacking a fourth movement, it is an engrossing work, especially in as committed a performance as this. It makes an ideal foil to the Concert.