Lyapunov, Grechaninov

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COMPOSERS: Grechaninov,Lyapunov
LABELS: Dutton
WORKS: Sextet, Op. 63; String Quartet No. 3
PERFORMER: Dante Quartet; Leon Bosch (double bass), John Thwaites (piano)
Here are handsome specimens from two late-Romantic Russian composers whose major works were composed in the 20th century under the shadow of the 19th. No one could put it better than Calum MacDonald in his model booklet notes when he writes of Lyapunov and Grechaninov that ‘they remained true to styles and ideals of composition which were going out of fashion, yet continued to invest them with belief and conviction’. Like Elgar, one might add, whose chamber works were composed shortly after these appeared in 1916 and 1917, but without the genius. What joy, then, to report that the Dante Quartet and friends bring the most personable of recreative spirits to bear on both pieces. Lyapunov’s consciously Russian chants, songs and dances sound as good as their models – Borodin very much to the fore – and the framing moonshine of his Nocturne brings playing of spellbinding atmosphere. The Grechaninov Quartet, structurally more intriguing, balances Tristan-like night with ceremonial day – most interestingly in the odd Theme and Variations – all of it represented in glowing proportions here. The sound is as alive as the performances, as one might expect from Dutton Laboratories and engineer Tony Faulkner. Awards should follow. David Nice