The Engegård Quartet (Arvid Engegård, violin; Atle Sponberg, violin; Juliet Jopling, viola & Jan-Erik Gustafsson, cello)
A protégé of Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer Catherinus Engegard produced a large number of works at the turn of the 19th century. Although his style is traditional and mainly romantic, the two string quartets and piano quartet given premier recordings here are full of colour and high-quality instrumental writing. The music is performed by the Engegård Quartet, which is joined in the Piano Quartet in G Minor by Nils Anders Mortensen.
Thanks to a letter of recommendation from Edvard Grieg, Catherinus Elling travelled to Berlin in 1886 to audition for Herzogenberg's masterclass at the Hochschule für Musik. Elling's letters to Grieg reveal a fairly conservative outlook with Mozart and Beethoven as his main influences, and consequently Elling's compositional style is fairly traditional and never departs from a romantic musical idiom. His ideals are borrowed from the music of Schubert via Mendelssohn and Schumann to Brahms. His output covers orchestral and chamber music, some 200 songs and many choral works, piano pieces and the opera Taras Bulba. He never dated his compositions, nor mentioned them in letters, but based on reviews of performances there is good reason to suppose that the works on this recording were all composed between 1890 and 1905.The opening of Elling's Piano Quartet in G minor is without doubt his most compelling contribution to Norwegian music, with its broad gestures, colourful musical palette, and virtuoso piano writing.
The Engegård Quartet has been highly praised for its recordings and concerts. It is headed by Arvid Engegård, former leader of Camerata Salzburg. This year opens a new chapter for the Engegård Quartet when the acclaimed cellist Adrian Brendel, son of Alfred Brendel, joins the group.