Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mozart Piano Trios on Spotify

You can exist as a chamber music ensemble for years (in the case of the Gryphon trio, 25 years!), make recordings that receive exuberant reviews in, let’s say the Gramophone Magazine: 

“But if you want the complete Mozart trios, this new set matches the classic Beaux Arts in polish and sensitivity, and surpasses it in beauty of violin tone and, inevitably, in quality of recording”

Or, over the top exuberant reviews in, let’s say, Classics today:

“Specifically, what the Gryphon Trio brings to these pieces is flow–that sense of effortless forward momentum that characterizes all of Mozart’s (and just about everyone else’s, come to think of it) best work. (10 out of 10)

And still remain virtually unknown… 

Is it because these players are from Canada? Or is it they are represented on a small label rather than the glam and marketing budget of a major label? Anyway, I came across these recordings on Spotify and was hooked. This is one of the finest set of Mozart chamber works I have encountered in a while. Artur Schnabel once famously said, “Mozart piano sonatas are too easy for children and too difficult for adults”. Well, the same counts for many of these works and the “naturalness” of playing by the Gryphon’s suits the music so well…! 
Hope you will be inspired by these performances too! 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Track 01- 03 Divertimento for Piano, Violin and Cello in B flat major, K 254 (1776) 
Track 04- 12 Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in G major, K 496 (1786)
Track 13- 15 Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in B flat major, K 502 (1786)
Track 16- 18 Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in E major, K 542 (1788)
Track 19- 21 Trio for Piano and Strings no 4 in C major, K 548 (1788)
Track 22- 30 Trio for Piano and Strings no 5 in G major, K 564 (1788)

Gryphon trio:
Annalee Patipata Nakoon, violin
Jamie Parker, piano
Roman Borys, cello
Recorded 2006.
(Webplayer link)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Your name is Katalin Kertész? And you play violin? Then you must be related to…

…István Kertész! And yes she is.

But not István Kertész the conductor…! Of course the “is she related to” question popped in my mind, so I wrote a mail to the quartet’s website. The anewer revealed that she is related to a István Kertész, the primarius of the renown and pioneering Festetics Quartet. They were one of the first string quartets playing on “authentic instruments”, just like the Kertész Quartet, by the way. But what does these trivialities matter, the Kertész Quartet made a splendid recording of an unknown Bohemian composer named Wenzel Heinrich Veit. Fine music, compared in this review to Ludwig Spohr, but with enough own voice to be recommended by me. To fill the playlist I found two recordings by the Festetics Quartet that drew praise from Classics today (Haydn, Emperor quartet) and the Gramophone (Haydn’s last, unfinished d minor quartet from 1803) and fit nicely between the two Veit quartets. Hope you will like this playlist as much as I did the last couple of weeks ;-)   

Wenzel Heinrich Veit (1806–64)

Tracks 01-04 Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 3 (1834)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Tracks 05-08 Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 in (1798)
Tracks 09-10 Quartet No. 68 in D minor, Op. 103 (1803)

Wenzel Heinrich Veit (1806–64)

Tracks 11-14 Quartet No. 2 in E Major, Op. 5 (1835)

Kertész Quartet (in the Veit quartets)
Katalin Kertész, Eleanor Harrison, violin 
Nichola Blakey, viola; 
Tatty Theo, cello
(on authentic instruments)

Festetics Quartet (in the Haydn quartets)
István Kertész, Petőfi Erika, violin
Péter Ligeti, viola
Rezsö Pertorini, cello
(on authentic instruments)
(Webplayer link)

Kertész Quartet