WORKS: Two Elegies; Romance for Violin and Piano; Sonata No. 5 for Two Violins. Three Pieces for String Quartet; Divertimento. Nocturne in E flat, D897
PERFORMER: Isabelle van Keulen, Mihaela Martin, Katharine Gowers, Vera Beths, Vadim Repin (violin), Leif Ove Andsnes, Enrico Pace (piano), Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello); Vogler Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 3-1651-2
Here is a fascinating anthology from the first Delft Chamber Music Festival, held last year. As centrepiece, the Vogler Quartet sounds impressively focused in Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for String Quartet, while Mihaela Martin (violin) and Enrico Pace (piano) give a colourful account of the Divertimento arranged from The Fairy’s Kiss.
Allan Petterson gained public acclaim relatively late in his career. Best known for his symphonic output, his first major success came in 1968 with the premiere of his Seventh Symphony. Nevertheless, his comparatively small output includes some attractive chamber pieces. The Delft Festival included the Two Elegies and Romanza, both for violin and piano, together with the fifth of his seven sonatas for two violins. Sensitive playing communicates the warm Romanticism of the first two pieces effectively. Meanwhile, Katharine Gowers and Vera Beths express the two-violin sonata’s startlingly bleak soundscape with suitably chilling eloquence.
Petterson’s own despairing comment about his music’s dark emotional energy – ‘when will an angel come who will return the song to the soul’ – is quoted in the booklet notes. Thus, the triumphant, if overcharged, account of Schubert’s Nocturne for piano trio by Repin, Gustafson and Andsnes (Schubert was one of Petterson’s major influences) makes an ironically appropriate endpiece. Nicholas Rast