Goldschmidt: String Quartet No. 4; Variations on a Palestinian Shepherd’s Song; Little Legend

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COMPOSERS: Goldschmidt
LABELS: Largo
WORKS: String Quartet No. 4; Variations on a Palestinian Shepherd’s Song; Little Legend
PERFORMER: Kolja Lessing (piano, violin), Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin)Gaede Trio, Mandelring Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 5128 DDD (distr. Complete Record Company)
Berthold Goldschmidt’s story is a curious one: his music was ignored for fifty years and for 25 of them he wrote no music at all. It’s only in the last couple of years that, now 92, he has been enjoying the success he once tasted more than sixty years ago before the Nazis obliged him to flee his native Germany. This recording of chamber music presents nine works, four of them written in the Nineties, including the String Trio and Fourth Quartet. There is no feeling of the creative juices running thin; on the contrary, here are fluent, passionate, lyrical and thematically cogent works in a free-tonal style, occasionally powerfully reminiscent of Alban Berg. Both the Gaede Trio and Mandelring Quartet give impressive performances even if the recorded sound for the trio is less good than for the quartet. Kolja Lessing is the nimble-fingered pianist in several works including a delightfully witty Scherzo and Capriccio from the Twenties. He’s also the slightly less persuasive solo violinist in a sombre but affecting later Capriccio written in 1992. Only the academicism of Variations on a Palestinian Shepherd’s Song for piano mars an otherwise revelatory disc. Annette Morreau

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