Magazine article Gramophone

Mahler: Mozart: Schumann: Mahler Piano Quartet Mozart Piano Quartet

Magazine article Gramophone

Mahler: Mozart: Schumann: Mahler Piano Quartet Mozart Piano Quartet

Article excerpt

Mahler * Mozart Schumann

Mahler Piano Quartet Mozart Piano Quartet

No 1, K478 Schumann Piano Quartet, Op 47

Berlin Piano Quartet

RCA Red Seal (F) 88985 43257-2 (63' * DDD)

The Berlin Piano Quartet offer an unusual line-up of composers, including the only complete movement of Mahler's teenage Piano Quartet. They are particularly successful here, conveying the fervency of its opening idea without over-emoting (which the Maiskys are wont to do on their live performance at the 2012 Lugano Festival), and they imbue the second chromatically infused idea with a pleasing naturalness that makes the best possible case for Mahler's slightly clunky writing. He tends to overwork these two motifs but the Berlin subtly vary them and the violin's minicadenza (track 4, from 10'02") is nicely done by Christophe Horak; Daniel Hope is freer with his portamentos, in keeping with a performance that is more overtly emotive, but I find the Berlin's 'straighter' approach persuasive.

Competition hots up in the remaining works--and this is the second Schumann Piano Quartet to have come my way this month (see page 44). G minor always inspired in Mozart music of a particularly personal anguish and the K478 Piano Quartet is no exception. The Berlin face formidable competition from the Lewis/ Leopold account, which to my mind is pretty much ideal. In the first movement's stern opening idea, for instance, Lewis & co phrase it off tersely, which makes its softer-edged reappearance, newly harmonised, all the more striking. …

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