WORKS: Piano Quartet in E flat, Op. 34; Piano Quartet in D, Op. 272; Piano Quintet in A, Op. 83
PERFORMER: Linos Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: 999 618-2
Carl Reinecke’s music, on the evidence not only of the works on this disc but others that have passed my way, is seriously underrated. It possesses the sweeping Romantic qualities of Schumann, a dazzling technical brilliance (Reinecke was one of the most accomplished pianists of his age) and a compelling self-confidence rather at odds, one understands, with his self-effacing personality. Yet it is also both individual and deep in its content.
The two piano quartets recorded here make an excellent contrast, as, given the years between their composition, one might expect. Op. 34 is the more spacious and headstrong of the two, its debts to Schumann plain. Op. 272, published in 1904, aims on the other hand for concision, and was described by Reinecke as being ‘in the easier style’. It shows, too, textures and flavours from Brahms, and its ripe slow movement is complemented by a jaunty, lopsided Scherzo. The Piano Quintet – an acknowledged masterpiece among Reinecke aficionados – goes a step further, its mysterious, tonally ambiguous opening showing that the lessons of Wagner and even of early Schoenberg had been fully assimilated. The Linos Ensemble gives this fine music all the care it deserves in its passionate, clean performances. Stephen Pettitt