Elgar/Rooke: Three Movements for Piano Trio bridge

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COMPOSERS: Bridge,Elgar/Rooke,Maddison
LABELS: Dutton
WORKS: Elgar/Rooke Three Movements for Piano Trio; Bridge; Piano Quartet in C minor & Maddison: Piano Quintet
PERFORMER: The Fibonacci Sequence
CATALOGUE NO: CDLX 7220

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Three world premiere recordings. Bridge’s impressive C minor Piano Quartet, a student composition, was performed in 1903 then suppressed. Some material may be over-obvious, yet it’s already a mature, powerfully-crafted utterance that has no business lying unheard for a century.

Paul Adrian Rooke’s performing versions of Three Movements for Piano Trio from Elgar’s unfinished manuscripts unveil three disparate pieces, including an 1882 Minuet whose Trio was later reworked as the light-orchestral Rosemary and an arrangement of the 1924 Empire March. But a slow introduction and sonata-exposition from 1920 is the tantalising embryo of another late work that might have ranked with the Quintet and String Quartet.

The biggest revelation, though, may be the 1916 Piano Quintet by Adela Maddison (1862?-1929). Gifted wife of a music publisher and friend (perhaps mistress) of Fauré, she found success when she moved to Paris and Berlin where she had an opera staged, but was pretty well ignored when the Great War forced her to move back to England.

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The ideas in her Quintet seem at first to tumble forth in charming profusion, but the structures work quite cogently enough. French influences (Fauré, Debussy, Florent Schmitt) are patent, but this is overall a captivating work with a gorgeous slow movement and vivacious scherzo and finale. The Fibonacci Sequence clearly adore it. Calum MacDonald