Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Dvor‡k

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COMPOSERS: Brahms,Dvorak,Haydn,Schubert
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Spannungen Ð Musik Im Kraftwerk Heimbach
WORKS: Piano Trio in G, Hob. XV:15; String Quintet in C, D956; Piano Trioin B, Op. 8; Piano Quartet in E flat, Op. 87
PERFORMER: Kornelia Brandkamp (flute), Christian Tetzlaff, Isabelle Faust (violin), Tatiana Masurenko, Diemut Poppen (viola), Boris Pergamenshikov, Gustav Rivinius, Tanja Tetzlaff (cello), Lars Vogt (piano)
Spannungen is the chamber music festival held since 1998 at the Heimbach Power Station in Germany’s Eifel Mountains. Whereas an earlier release from the 1999 festival concentrated on 20th-century works, these new discs focus on Classical and Romantic repertoire.


Like the earlier release, there is a wonderful sense of occasion on these discs that overcomes any boominess in the sound or noise from the generally very quiet audience. The sense of spontaneity is tangible, overtly in the chirpy account of Haydn’s G major Trio, but also rippling engagingly throughout, especially the jaunty final movement of Dvorák’s Piano Quartet.

Only the opening movement of Brahms’s Piano Trio is lacking, feeling distant and perfunctory in contrast to the intensity of Dumay, Wang and Pires (DG) or the exquisite Florestan Trio (Hyperion). Schubert’s Quintet in C fares much better, with briskish tempi only rarely imbuing any sense of being rushed. Recordings ofthis sublime work are measured by the bucket-load.

In addition to the classic accounts by the Hollywood Quartet and the Amadeus Quartet (both Testament), there are several that retain the spark of live performance, notably the Lindsays (ASV), the Raphael Ensemble (Hyperion) and the Hagen Quartet (DG). Most pertinent here, though, is the legendary performance including Casals, Tortelier and Stern at the Prades Festival.


That this newcomer commands serious attention in this company indicates the quality of the playing. If not an account to replace Casals, it is a prime example of chamber-music-playing at its best. Christopher Dingle