Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Symphony for solo piano

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Sandor VERESS (1917-1992)
String Trio (1954) [19:27]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Piano Quintet in C Major, SZ.23 (1904) [42:05]
Alexander Lonquich (piano), Barnabás Kelemen, Vilde Frang (violins), Katalin Kokas (viola), Nicolas Altstaedt (cello)
rec. July 2017, Pfarrkirche, Lockenhaus, Austria (Veress), August 2019, Jar Kirke, Bćrum, Norway (Bartók)
ALPHA 458 [61:50]

I was only familiar with the Bartók piece, and that in an unimpressive performance by Jenő Jandó and the Kodály Quartet (Naxos 8.550886). The present recording has made me listen to the work anew. The playing is more committed and dramatic, and emphasises the various aspects of the music. Bartók wrote the Piano Quintet when he was only 23, following a short break from composing after he was discouraged from expressing his creativity during his studies at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. It was only after witnessing a performance of Also sprach Zarathustra that he was inspired to compose again.

The Piano Quintet, in the rich palette of Richard Strauss and mature Brahms, has little of Bartók’s later masterpieces. It begins with a sweep in the strings before the piano’s entry; there are a few glimpses into the future, especially in the more complex music of the third movement Adagio, but this is a triumph of late romanticism. Late Brahms is especially present in the more folk-inspired music of the second and forth movements, a riot of colour and hardly contained excitement. The performance, intense and exciting, highlights the many changes in dynamics and feel of the music, so this early work of Bartók has certainly gone up in my estimation.

The real find has been the 1954 String Trio by Sandor Veress. The music ‘out-Bartóks’ Bartók in how Veress inventively holds the listener’s attention. The Trio owes a debt not only to Bartók, but to Schoenberg and especially Berg; their twelve-tone system is blended with Hungarian folk rhythms and music. Veress uses the system to emphasise the strong rhythmically expressive and melodic qualities of the music. He once said about the use of serial technique in his music: “I start off with the melody, then eventually get to a note-row. The ‘serialists’ begin with the note-row and get … nowhere at all – certainly not as far as an actual melody!”

The Trio is in two movements. The brooding Andante leads to the much more animated Allegro molto with its passages of pizzicato and knocking on the body of the instrument. The second movement is more folk-inspired than the first. The experience is rewarding and intense, even if too brief. (I ordered the disc of Veress’s string quartets on Toccata Classics, TOCC0062, before the first movement of the Bartók was complete. I was not let down.)

Vilde Frang, Lawrence Power and Nicolas Altstaedt offer a superb interpretation, with an array of tonal colour one would not think possible from just three performers. The performances are all excellent, as is the sound quality. The booklet notes deserve special mention, especially the essay by Claudio Veress about his father’s String Trio. This great disc has opened my eyes to early Bartók, as well as to the music of a composer new to me. I cannot recommend it enough. Try it: you will not be disappointed. I know I was not!

Stuart Sillitoe

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 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