One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

To gain a 10% discount, use the link below & the code MusicWeb10

Romantic Quintets for Clarinet and String Quartet -  Volume 2
Ewald STRÄSSER (1867-1933)
Clarinet Quintet in G major, Op.34 (1915) [36:47]
Henri MARTEAU (1874-1934)
Clarinet Quintet in C minor, Op.13 (1906) [36:44]
Stephan Siegenthaler (clarinet)
Stamic Quartet
rec. November 2011, Studio Martinek, Prague
STERLING CDA1683-2 [72:02]

This is an intriguing conjunction of names. Henri Marteau, French-born, was hugely influential in Berlin for a period from 1908, when he was appointed violin professor at the city’s Royal Academy of Music but the First World War brought humiliation and distress. He was imprisoned, as he’d retained his rank of reserve lieutenant in the French army. I’ve written about Marteau in the context of a splendid Caprice box set devoted to his recordings and legacy (review).

He was also a composer, and intended his Clarinet Quintet of 1906 for Richard Mühlfeld to perform the following year, though he experienced the catastrophe of the great man dying two days before the projected première. Marteau had played Brahms’s A major violin sonata with the composer at the piano and the Marteau-Brahms-Mühlfeld connection is a solid one, and might suggest an equivalently autumnal element that turns out, in the event, not really to be so. Marteau’s Quintet is full of fancy with exultant themes for the violins and opportunities for a descanting and dialoguing clarinet, a scherzo that is burnished by masquerading wit and colour, the clarinet inciting the first violin to dance, and by a lilting slow movement that courts melancholy but never sinks into it. The skittish finale embraces lyric warmth, avidly romantic at times, and there’s plenty of humour to be encountered too. This is a true Franco-German alliance, stylistically; the chirpy charm of the French school married to the more solidly rich-toned School of Berlin.

Ewald Strässer was seven years older than Marteau and a gifted student but was over forty when his Symphony No.1 was premièred to acclaim, his orchestral music being performed by some of Germany’s leading orchestras and conductors, amongst them Steinbach, Nikisch, Weingartner, Fritz Busch, Richard Strauss and Mengelberg. His Quintet was composed in 1915 and is formal, traditional, excellently laid-out and lacking those qualities of impudent drollery that so captivate in Marteau’s work. Still, this amiable, amicable piece has a vivid scherzo, both verdant and outdoorsy, even folkloric in places. The slow movement hearkens back to Brahms, though the exaggerated contrast between the vibrant central panel and the surrounding material is marked. The gracious finale with a brief fugato, humorously done, brings the work to a rather predictable but pleasant ending.

The notes are excellent. The Stamic Quartet, long familiar from its Czech repertoire, plays with real sensitivity and characterful commitment, and prove elegant collaborators for tonally eloquent Stephan Siegenthaler in these 2011 readings.

Jonathan Woolf

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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

Sample: See what you will get

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