One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Quintet in F minor Op.34 (1864) [38.32]
Quintetto Chigiano
Recorded 1952
PRISTINE AUDIO PACM010 MP3 download [38.32]

Itís been a pleasure encountering this now little known Decca recording from 1952. Though they may not now Ė or indeed then Ė have had the cachet of many of their rivals the Chigiano were distinguished musicians and their Brahms is a solid and useful contribution to the recorded literature. They donít have the corporate weight of, say, the Budapest with their pianistic associate Clifford Curzon Ė that slightly earlier rather boxily recorded 1950 disc is now back on Naxos. And nor are they infallible; pianist Sergio Lorenzi has a few Curzon-like moments in the first movement. And yet this is a likeable and lean performance, not at all heavy in the assumed German style. The recording too tends to complement that approach; the acoustic is a touch constricted, not at all boomy.

The performance is a straight-ahead one; the first violin essays a few portamenti in the opening movement but thereís no great or pressing sense of emotive weight and nor are they big tonalists in the Russian manner. Corporate heft is kept to a minimum but the playing is nicely contoured and clearly well considered. Of the string players the viola playing of Giovanni Leone caught my ear and itís Leone who takes the most expressive moments.

When one compares them to the Budapest/Curzon team itís in the slow movement that one most feels a slight want of feeling; that the Chigiano, though slower than the rival quintet, tend not to inflect so sensitively or with such agility. The straight and narrow path is often a laudable one but sometimes it can come close to under-inflection. The pianist Lorenzi sounds rather more diffident than perhaps is ideal and some string rubati donít quite work.

Still, this is an unusual restoration. This group made a highly regarded recording of the Bloch Quintet and I hope that Pristine Audio can get around to this in due course; itís more of a priority than the piano quintets of Shostakovich, Franck and DvořŠk that they also recorded at around the same time Ė though Iím sure there would be interest in those traversals as well.

The Decca vintage 1952 sound has a great deal of clarity and textual cleanliness. I like the restorative work considerably more than Pristine Audioís other restorations. I canít pretend that this is a sure-fire winner from an interpretative viewpoint but itís certainly good to welcome a forgotten ensemble back to the catalogue.

This is available in MP3, and two CD formats as will be reflected in the price.

Jonathan Woolf



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.