MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Camille SAINT-SA╦NS (1835-1921)
Piano Quartet, Op. 41 (1875) [30.56]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Piano Quartet, Op. 30 (1897) [36.26]
Schubert Ensemble (Simon Blendis (violin), Douglas Paterson (viola), Jane Salmon (cello), William Howard (piano))
rec. Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England, 8-10 March 2016
CHANDOS CHAN10914 [67.36]

This new release has given me great pleasure – one of the most satisfying albums of chamber music I have reviewed in recent times.

1875 must have been a happy year for Saint-SaŰns. It was the year he married. That same year he composed his glorious Fourth Piano Concerto and Danse macabre as well as this very approachable B flat Piano Quartet. The genial, melodic opening movement contrasts calm and commotion but it is predominantly sunny and relaxed, sophisticated and well-mannered, occasionally stately and dignified; sporadically agitated. The Schubert Ensemble play with spirit, attack and real delight. The second movement is an extraordinarily interpretation of its description Andante. It forgets its manners for it opens in rough temper although calm is soon reached. By two minutes in, the piano has poured oil over troubled waters although the strings rarely cease their agitation and scurrying. Considering the character of the ensuing third movement, a Mendelssohnian scherzo, one begins to wonder if there will be a real slow movement. This lively scherzo, full of good humour, proceeds through a series of accelerandi to a hopeful Prestissimo that the composer leaves to the players’ discretion. The Finale moves to a more earnest mood and chromaticism and something of Schumann is apparent. The movement is cyclic and recalls material from the earlier movements.

The Chausson Piano Quartet is equally satisfying if not more so. It's a charismatic work, its delicate sensitivity safe in the hands of the Schubert Ensemble. It is more solemn in character with a charming opening movement denoting a mood of searching yearning and uncertainty. It can be dreamily melodic. The piano part, in the hands of William Howard, has a beguiling, pellucid beauty. Influences? Wagner and CÚsar Franck are suggested. There is a hint of folk music too but the thrust is idiosyncratically Chausson’s. The second movement is beautifully, intensely romantic with the mood suggesting devotion. The music works up to a passionate affirmatory climax. The brief third movement has its roots in a folksong with its tune in the Phrygian mode. Debussy and Ravel are at Chausson’s shoulder here. The strongly rhythmic and rather turbulent Finale is energetic before a waltz section calms the atmosphere and romantic yearning is recalled.

Very rewarding in every sense.

Ian Lace
Previous review: David Barker



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing