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Schumann & Dvorák: Piano Quintets / Jonathan Biss, piano; Elias Quartet

Album Summary

>Schumann, Robert : Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
>Dvorak, Antonin : Quintet for Piano and Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 81/B 155
Performer Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Schumann's Piano Quintet was one of the earliest examples of the combination of piano with a string quartet. It instantly became one of Schumann's most popular works. It was composed at a time of almost feverish industry - along with the quintet, he composed his three String Quartets Op.41, the Piano Quartet and a set of Fantasy Pieces for piano trio, all in 1842. Dvorák's Op.81 Piano Quintet stems from his attempt to revise an earlier work in A major from 1872. Dissatisfied with the earlier version, he set upon composing a new one - the result composed in September 1887 is one of his most beloved works. Jonathan Biss is one of the most exciting pianists of the younger generation, widely regarded for his artistry and deeply felt interpretations. Formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, the Elias String Quartet have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation.

Chicago Sun-Times
A young virtuoso and poetic pianist of the first order...

American Record Guide, January/February 2013
The performances reveal the huge variety of musical expression in these works, the shifts in character, the often surprising interplay of parts, and the wealth of instrumental color. With a more sensitive pianist, these readings would be among my favorites.

Sunday Times, 30th September 2012
The qualities of both quintets are relished by Biss and the Elias players in these lively performances, though sometimes the balance - always tricky in this medium - favours the piano too much.

The Observer, 7th October 2012
Playing of wonderful exuberance and fire in both works...these superb players could almost convince you Schumann was looking out on a cloudless sky when he wrote it.

The Strad, December 2012
The ensemble is meticulously precise and the Elias's intonation spotlessly clean.

Financial Times, 16th November 2012
As a pairing of the most popular piano quintets, this disc would make a useful Christmas stocking-filler. The interpretations are clean and unfussy.

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012
Highly assured performances of these two marvellous chamber works...this warmly recorded performance is most compelling when Schumann explores the extrovert side of his musical personality...While there are some caveats about the Schumann, the Biss/Elias partnership produces a wonderful performance of the Dvorak, conveying not only the freshness of its invention but also probing darker melancholic undercurrents.

Gramophone Magazine, December 2012
From the very opening, the almost imperceptible variation of pulse suggests an intimate engagement with this music...This music thrives in performances of individuality and character...and that's what Biss/Elias offer in abundance. It's Schumann Quintet to place among the best of the rest and a Dvorak that I simply couldn't stop listening to.

International Record Review, December 2012
One of the most enjoyable and compelling chamber recordings released this year.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Wyastone Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth (04/27/2012-04/30/2012).


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Works Details

>Schumann, Robert : Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
  • Performer: Jonathan Biss (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Elias String Quartet
  • Notes: Wyastone Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth (04/27/2012-04/30/2012)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1842

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Quintet for Piano and Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 81/B 155
  • Performer: Jonathan Biss (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth (04/27/2012-04/30/2012)
  • Running Time: 40 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music