Catoire: Piano Trio, Op. 14; Elegy, Op. 26; Piano Quartet, Op. 31

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COMPOSERS: Catoire
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Catoire chamber music
WORKS: Piano Trio, Op. 14; Elegy, Op. 26; Piano Quartet, Op. 31
PERFORMER: Room-Music
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67512
This is highly civilised music. Georgy L’vovich Catoire (1861-1926) was a contemporary of Arensky and Glazunov who graduated in mathematics in Moscow and only found his way into music in his mid-twenties. He studied in Berlin and then briefly with Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov in St Petersburg before settling in Moscow.

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Marc-André Hamelin introduced his often startling piano music to CD some years ago, but the chamber music offered here is hardly less rewarding. Catoire was of French extraction and something of his Gallic origins shine through: there are fleeting reminders of Franck or Lekeu. In both the Trio of 1900 and the Piano Quartet of 1915, the music is finely wrought, the invention fresh and the musical argument unfolds naturally. Although Oistrakh recorded his two violin sonatas and the Elegy in the early 1950s, both the Piano Trio and the Quartet are new to CD. Pianist Stephen Coombs provides excellent notes (both from his pen and his fingers) and the performances are very persuasive. The recording is in the finest Hyperion tradition: very present and well balanced sound. Robert Layton