We are treated to a big, lively sound here as if sitting close to the two
soloists. The recording quality is fearlessly vivid: 'reach-out-and-touch'
realism. Throughout, the pianism is mercurially tempered, quick and full
of life. The horn playing goes for the big effect (though Crome is not short
of subtlety either) and is played with no shadow of caution (note the fluff
in 0.50 on track 5 - the Schumann Allegro). This is flamboyant playing often
of thrilling character and with fine attention to the shading and terracing
of dynamics. There is a lack of polish sometimes and a very slight inclination
towards a mournful droopy vibrato but this can be forgiven easily enough
in a player of such courage and artistic judgement.
The one rarity here is the Richard Strauss Andante (a gift to his father
on his silver wedding). I do not recall any other recordings so this CD may
well be of considerable value to Straussians.
Everything here is enjoyable; from the strangely staid jollity of the Hindemith
to the unbuttoned ebullience of the Beethoven. The Villanelle is 'sung' with
great poise. Good to have this Gallic piece (teetering on the edge of
impressionism) amongst such Teutonic company!
The balance between horn and piano has been very well judged here. The two
instruments must be the very devil to set in a satisfying acoustic.
You might recall a previous review of the Domus Wind Quintet on MP3.COM.
Well some of the drawbacks of that disc have been addressed here. The major
point is that notes are provided as part of the insert. Playing time is still
somewhat short by CD standards.
The other problem they need to crack is the layout of the tracks. Currently
they are laid out on the insert as if a single work. What we need is something
like this instead. It is not difficult so why do they persist with this awkward
layout. It is not as if they are dealing with a sequence of pop songs.
It should look something like this:-
1 Allegro moderato
2 Poco adagio
SCHUMANN Adagio and Allegro
and so on
Nice to see classical music taking its place as a voice among the predominantly
pop voices associated with MP3 and the MP3 players which are now such a
characteristic of high street shops.
The CD is an enhanced CD, meaning that it contains a multimedia presentation
that can be accessed on both a PC and a Mac.
The presentation includes full descriptive notes, which are also available
in PDF format at http://www.resonances.com/CDs.
Of course, the CDs work in a normal CD player too.
The price of the new CD is $11.99 at mp3.com.
Background material about the artists is available at resonances.com and
David Sedlock has prepared "What Every
Classical Music Lover Needs to Know about MP3".