> JENNER Quartets [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Gustav JENNER (1865-1920)
Piano Quartet in F major (1905) [35.41]
String Quartet No. 1 in F major (1907) [30.22]
String Quartet No. 2 in G major (1910) [14.43]
String Quartet No. 3 in F major (1911) [25.19]
Trio for Piano Clarinet and Horn in E flat major (1900) [25.09]
Mozart Piano Quartet and Friends
Wolfram Brandl (second violin in string quartets)
Wolfha rd Pencz (clarinet)
Olivier Darbellay (horn)
rec Hans Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany, 13-15 Dec 1999, 17 July 2000, 8-10 May 2001
CPO 999 699-2 [61.47+71.22]


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Trust CPO to educate us again and to do so with such pleasurable music.

Jenner was born on the island of Sylt of a physician father who could trace his family to the Scot, Edward Jenner who invented the smallpox vaccine and a mother whose family were Sylt merchants and sailors.

Jenner's Piano Quartet is comparable with Grieg and Schumann, even early Parry. The First Piano Quartet by Fauré is also within hailing distance of this music. The suave counter-subject is very civilised and confident in its Mendelssohnian glitter. There is a brusque and sturdy cosmopolitan scherzo with a lovely rocking motion (1.45). This is most warming music, lovely, rounded and undulatingly melodic. Jenner has an unfailing knack of producing affecting melody - a fruity and flightily imaginative aptitude.

The Third Quartet was premiered by the Rebner Quartet (which included Hindemith, viola and Maurits Frank, cello) at Marburg in the year of Jenner's death. Mozart and Brahms are the influences across the four movements. However in the Scherzo a tangy gypsy skirl can be heard. Staunch Mendelssohnian content can be found in the finale.

The Second Quartet is a much more concise four movement work and would go down well in any recital. Mozartian grace exudes from every bar and the dialogue of the instruments seems to have taken its line from the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K364. The longest movement is 4.24, the shortest 3.19.

The First Quartet is rather more loquacious and is less impressive despite being in the same Mozartian/Mendelssohnian language. The Trio for piano and two high-tide romantic instruments: clarinet and horn, sounds charming though it is perhaps the least at ease, least fully resolved and least eloquent and articulate interpretation of the five pieces. This has a definite Brahmsian 'climate' and is a pleasing and mellifluous work. It dates from the same year as the rather hum-drum First Quartet.

These works will be adored by anyone who takes well to Brahms, Mendelssohn, the Smetana Quartet No. 1, the late Mozart string quartets and early Karl Weigl.

Good notes from Manfred Hörr and sensationally long well-judged silences between the works.

The Mozart Piano Quartet and Friends play with joyous inspiration and no trace of dutiful dullness. Sparks and sighs radiate outwards.

Rob Barnett


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