There is about these performances a kind of plainness
and directness of utterance that never precludes reserves of feeling.
Both, to some degree, share this quality. The finer performance is that
of the Gabrieli, in 1971, near or maybe at the beginning of their distinguished
career. They are reluctant to indulge tonal or expressive extremes and
prefer instead flexibility and shading of contrasts. The Allegro is
properly held together, elastic and supple - listen to Kenneth Sillito’s
expressive playing at 11.08 for example - and the long Andante con moto
benefits from secluded tone and searching musicianship. Very occasionally
there is a temporary loss of intonation but this is more than outweighed
by subtlety of rubato and tempo integration. There are many recordings
in the catalogue and others combine virtuosity with tonal beauty and
architectural strength but at super-budget price this Gabrieli performance
emerges once again after thirty years its virtues undiminished.
The Trout features the ad-hoc combination of a pianist
better known for her solo performances and symphonic principals – a
recipe for musical disaster one would have thought. That this is not
the case here is because of Lympany’s ebullience and the string players’
sometimes hectic cooperation. The aural perspective highlights the piano
rather over brightly and the violin’s tone emerges a little wiry in
the balance. It is certainly an energetic performance though one wanting
in a little subtlety.
This very well filled disc, at super-budget price,
commands real interest, especially for the Gabrieli’s Quartet performance.