WORKS: Piano Quartet; Piece in D minor for Violin and Piano; String Trio, Op. 45; Phantasie, Op. 47; Webern: Two Pieces for Cello and Piano; Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7; Cello Sonata; Berg: Adagio; Four Pieces, Op. 5
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer (violin), Oleg Maisenberg (piano), Sabine Meyer (clarinet), Veronika Hagen (viola), Clemens Hagen (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 447 112-2 DDD
This is a fascinating and intelligently compiled collection of works, all presented in performances that would be hard to beat anywhere today; as the title suggests, the guiding spirit behind the release is the remarkable violinist Gidon Kremer.
The disc proceeds in strict chronological order: the early Piano Quartet by Gustav Mahler, patron saint of the Second Viennese School, is the starting point; thankfully it is given here in its original, incomplete form and not in Schnittke’s hideous completion. Schoenberg’s early and undated fragment for violin and piano, already roaming into some unlikely harmonic areas, is recorded here for the first time.
Also included are Webern’s two pieces for cello and piano which were written in 1899, when the composer was 15. With the miniatures by Webern and Berg the disc moves into the heartland of musical expressionism in the first decades of the 20th century, music in which everything is compressed and not a note is wasted, after which the comparative expansiveness of the Berg Adagio (his own arrangement of the slow movement of his Chamber Concerto) and Schoenberg’s two late works seems almost extravagant.