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Chausson: Concerto for Violin, Piano & String Quartet; Piano Trio / Stephen Shipps, Eric Larsen

Album Summary

>Chausson, Ernest : Concert for Piano, Violin and String Quartet in D major, Op. 21
>Chausson, Ernest : Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, Op. 3
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The première of Chausson's Concert in D major was a major triumph for the composer. Not only had the great Eugène Ysaÿe performed on violin, but audiences and critics had recognized a work of exceptional intensity, passion and haunting beauty. Its actual genre may have proved elusive, as it is hardly a conventionally laid-out chamber work, but it remains one of the most important works in the French repertoire. The Piano Trio was written when Chausson was 26. Though somewhat indebted to Franck, it immediately evokes its own charged sense of atmosphere. The Wihan is one of the world's leading quartets, and the Meadowmount Trio has been admired for its "exquisite beauty of tone and sparkling rhythmic energy" (ClassicsToday.com).

MusicWeb International
The Meadowmount Trio... shows a of lot energy in their performance... Larsen and the Meadowmount's Stephen Shipps join the esteemed Wihan Quartet in the Concert and overall the six players form a cohesive unit, achieving quite a distinctive performance. Recording quality is fairly sumptuous by Naxos standards... a pair of moving and exciting performances.

The present one has sufficient reason to be heard, but does not reach to the above, especially in some textures somewhat confusing to the outer movements, with the Sicilienne of excessive smoothness and the Grave, a very slow tempo, the most accomplished of this concert. The Trio in G minor op. 3, minor work compared to the Op 21, is a music completely written under the influence of Franck, his teacher, with a structure that allows to develop all its fantasy, especially in the Pas trop lent-Anime and in-Assez lent, true oasis for players wanting to play music. Recommended, but one step in the interpretations of Hyperion commanded by the Chilingirian Quartet.

Performing this unique and monumental work are the Wihan String Quartet joined by violinist Stephen Shipps and pianist Eric Larsen (both of the Meadowmount Trio). The ensemble does a nice job of capturing all of these changing textures and combinations and does so while maintaining an intense but rich, warm sound. The outer Anime movements driven and exciting; the third movement Grave is breathtaking in its stillness and gravitas. Intonation is generally good, though Shipps occasionally sounds sharp compared to the Wihan members. The disc concludes with Chausson's first major completed chamber work, the G minor Piano Trio. The Meadowmount members do a commendable job of revitalizing this youthful work that can sometimes pale in comparison to the Concert. There is a great deal of unison and octave playing between the cello and the violin in the Trio; Shipps and cellist Owen Carman pleasingly match pitch throughout. Naxos' sound is clear and responsive.

Audio Video Club of Atlanta
This program of rare and beautiful chamber music by French composer Ernest Chausson was recorded in Prague where the Meadowmount Trio from the U.S. and the Wihan String Quartet from the Czech Republic met in the recording studio and joined forces in Chausson's Concert in D Major, Op. 21 for Violin, Piano and String Quartet. In this work the Wihan are augmented by pianist Eric Larson and violinist Stephen Shipps of the Meadowmount, and the result is hauntingly beautiful music.


Chausson Wihan Quartet Meadowmount Trio
This disc of chamber music by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) offers solid readings of one of the Parisian composers great works, the Concert in D major, Op. 21 and the Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 3, by the Wihan String Quartet with Eric Larsen, piano and Stephen Shipps, violin, and the Meadowmount Trio, respectively. Originally premiered in 1892 in a performance by the great 19th century virtuoso Eugene Ysaye and the quartet of his student Mathieu Crickboom with Auguste Pierret at the piano, and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, the Concert has remained a stable, if peripheral, part of the chamber music repertoire for the last century and beyond. An admirer of Wagner and pupil of Massenet and Franck, Chausson’s music could be described as an amalgam of these influences, yet such a characterization is too dismissive. Chausson’s music has its own character, which finds its finest expression in his slower movements, such as the grave from the Concert, in which a melancholic chromaticism inspires thoughts of the fin de siècle Paris of Henry James’s The Ambassadors. The The Wihan Quartet performs this work ably and admirably, as do the pianist Larsen and the solo violinist Shipps, who offers a subtle rendition of the work, despite a few tenuous entrances. The Piano Trio is another fine piece, played elegantly by the Meadowmount Trio (comprised of Larsen, Shipps, and cellist Owen Carman). A great disc, well worth a listen.
Submitted on 11/04/11 by Due Fuss 
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Works Details

>Chausson, Ernest : Concert for Piano, Violin and String Quartet in D major, Op. 21
  • Performers: Stephen Shipps (Violin); Eric Larsen (Piano)
  • Notes: Modrany Studios, Prague, Czech Republic (05/18/2000-05/25/2000)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1889-1891

>Chausson, Ernest : Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, Op. 3
  • Ensemble: Meadowmount Trio
  • Running Time: 33 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1881