Sibelius: Piano Quartets, JS 156, 157 158; Ljunga Wirginia; Scherzo in E minor

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Sibelius
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Sibelius
WORKS: Piano Quartets, JS 156, 157 158; Ljunga Wirginia; Scherzo in E minor
PERFORMER: Jaakko Kuusisto, Satu Vänskä (violin), Taneli Turunen (cello), Folke Gräsbeck, Peter Lönnqvist (piano), Harri Viitanen (harmonium)
CATALOGUE NO: BIS CD-1182
The half-dozen works and fragments here were composed 1884-91 when Sibelius was finding his voice. None are written for the combination of instruments one would expect (string trio and piano) and only one, the eight-minute C minor Quartet, has been recorded before. There are unusual ensembles – violin, cello, piano and harmonium in the case of the G minor Quartet of 1887, composed for the Sucksdorff family in Lovisa, whose music room accommodated both a piano and a harmonium. In fact all these pieces originate in evenings of domestic entertainment. The fragments for violin, cello and piano four hands (Ljunga Wirginia), intended for a projected dramatic venture, are completely new. It would be idle to pretend that any of these slight pieces gives us even a glimpse of the Sibelius that was soon to emerge in Kullervo. But there is no question as to the excellence of the performances and the recorded sound, as well as the quality of the detailed booklet notes by the pianist Folke Gräsbeck. Robert Layton

Advertisement