Magazine article Gramophone

'Midsummer Phantasy'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Midsummer Phantasy'

Article excerpt

'Midsummer Phantasy'

Bridge Phantasy Piano Quartet Penard Phantasy, Op 25 Purcell Fantazias--Z734; Z735 Ensemble Contraste Dux [F] DUX1126 (49' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Ensemble Contraste here offer an illuminating sequence of pieces for piano quartet, with two of Purcell's magnificent Fantazias arranged for the group, leading to one of Frank Bridge's finest early chamber works, this time prompted by the rules of the William Cobbett Prize. Finally comes the longest and most ambitious of the pieces here, the Piano Quartet in five movements by the French composer Olivier Penard.

It may seem an odd mixture but it works surprisingly well. The Cobbett Prize which prompted the fine Bridge work was set up partly in response to the Fantazias of Purcell which in turn echoed the Elizabethans. Purcell may have intended them as student exercises but they stand among his finest works, darkly profound. The Bridge is among the finest works prompted by the Cobbett formula, very different in style from the far more radical works of the composer's last period, inspired by his agonised response to the Great War and the carnage involved. …

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