The world’s most famous classical music event N E W Y E A R ’ S C O N C E R T 2 0 1 2
The Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Mariss Jansons
2-CD Set Available Januar y 10, 2012 ORDER YOUR COPY NOW AT AMAZON.COM
Blu-ray and DVD available February 2012 From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2012 will be broadcast January 1, 2012, at 2:30pm and 7:30pm on the PBS series Great Performances (check local listings)
Also Available: Legendary Moments of the New Year’s Concert Limited Edition 3 CD + DVD set featuring maestros Karajan, Kleiber, Maazel and Mehta sonymasterworks.com
© 2012 Sony Music Entertainment reviews
Ken Smith reviews Sidney Corbett’s Absconditus: ‘The main problem is one of dynamics – the artists’ breathing , in fact, is sometimes louder than the playing’ REVIEW ON PAGE XI
Beethoven . Brahms . Bruch Beethoven Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello Op 11 Brahms Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello Op 114 Bruch Eight Pieces for Piano, Clarinet and Cello – nos 1-3; no 6 Ensemble Liaison Tall Poppies F TP217 (65’ • DDD)
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Jed Distler reviews Haydn from Anton Kuerti: ‘Kuerti animates the great final sonata with tiny yet noticeable inflections of pulse’
REVIEW ON PAGE XI
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Debut recording for five-yearold australian ensemble The jacket cover on Ensemble Liaison’s new recording shows the musicians floating on air. They have a similarly elevating effect on the trios for clarinet, cello and piano by Beethoven, Brahms and Bruch that constitute the disc’s repertoire.
Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat major, Op 11, begins at a frisky clip, its first-movement marking of Allegro con brio given full, fleet consideration. Clarinettist David Griffiths, cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic and pianist Timothy Young emphasise the score’s Classicism, shaping the score with trim and tender assurance. The Adagio’s lyricism enjoys nuanced definition, and the ensemble manages to be both giddy and elegant in the finale’s buoyant variations.
As they do in the Beethoven, Griffiths and Bogosavljevic keep vibrato in check in Brahms’ Trio in A minor, Op 114, while applying ample warmth to the poetic writing. With Young maintaining sure balances, the performers sensitively limn the composer’s distinctive blend of Classical and Romantic elements. Their generous fire and propulsion in the last movement stand in contrast to the autumnal beauty and charm of the central movements.
Ensemble Liaison’s artistry is so attuned to animated and songful gestures that a listener may regret that only four of Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op 83, are offered here. Even so, the musicians are supremely refined – and controlled: listen to Griffiths’ exceptional command of soft dynamics – as they revel in the wistful, rapturous and proud writing.
Floating on music: Ensemble Liaison play Beethoven, Brahms and Bruch
So, would it be too much to ask that they perform the other half of the collection on their next disc? Donald Rosenberg
Beethoven . Mendelssohn Beethoven String Quartet no 16, Op 135 Mendelssohn String Quartet no 6, Op 80 Jupiter Quartet Marquis F MarQuIS81405 (52’ • DDD)
Banff competition winners in composers’ final quartets In pairing the final string quartets – and, almost, the final creations – of Mendelssohn and Beethoven, the Jupiter Quartet sheds illuminating and eloquent light on composers whose immortal music only occasionally reflects their more mortal circumstances. Liz Freivogel, the Jupiters’ viola player, touches upon this reality in her compelling programme-note, saying the group was ‘struck by the extreme contrast in emotional worlds presented in the two works’. In other words, the generally content Mendelssohn wrote his moody Quartet in F minor soon after the death of his sister, Fanny, while the famously brooding Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, Op 135, is sunny and playful for the most part. Whatever the psychological provenance of these pieces, the Jupiters play both with great intensity of feeling. The musicians lavish suppleness and flexibility on the Mendelssohn, phrasing as one – you can actually hear them breathe together at many points – and interacting as if immersed in a series of dark, aching conversations.
The Beethoven also benefits from the Jupiters’ expressive elasticity, as well as the clarity with which every line is declaimed and connected to what surrounds it. In the sublime third movement, the players take Beethoven’s marking (Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo) at its word, allowing phrases to unfold in all their hushed splendour. When the ‘It must be!’ figure in the finale arrives, the explosion nearly comes across as a celebration of the ‘extreme contrasts’ that Freivogel mentions. Perhaps it is no wonder
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GRAMOPHONE January 2012 IX