Inspired by the rural beauty of the surroundings at his country retreat in 1917, Edward Elgar embarked on the composition of some of his most inspired and imaginative chamber works.
Both the String Quartet and the Piano Quintet are works of great depth and elegance. Their conservative style disregards the compositional trends of the time and displays an unabashed late-romanticism. Elgar wrote: ‘It is full of golden sounds and I like it. But you must not expect anything violently chromatic or cubist.’
The disc features sumptuous playing from the acclaimed Goldner String Quartet, who are joined by pianist Piers Lane for Elgar’s sublime Piano Quintet, a large-scale work of almost orchestral sonority.
These masterpieces are accompanied by four previously unrecorded works for solo piano, the last of which was written by Elgar at the age of 72. They are intimate, charming rarities, superbly performed by Lane.
“The quintet is given real stature in this very fine recording, with the Goldners and Piers Lane revelling in the expansive themes of the opening moderato and the unashamedly romantic adagio. The Goldners bring the same emotional intensity to the febrile quartet with its shifting tonality and quirky rhythmic scheme, before Lane presents some fascinating miniatures” The Observer, 12th June 2011
“as this fine account by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet demonstrates, [the Piano Quintet is] full of highly expressive, authentically Elgarian tunes. The Goldners' account of the quartet is finely fluent, too, and in both works they resist the temptation to over-egg the climaxes.” The Guardian, 16th June 2011 ****
“Of his 1918 quartet, [Elgar] wrote: “I know it does not carry us further, but it is full of golden sounds and I like it.” The well-named Goldner Quartet capture those golden sounds — and the piece’s elegiac moods — in an exquisitely nuanced way. The Quintet, more extrovert despite its moving adagio, gets brilliant playing from Lane” Sunday Times, 3rd July 2011 ****
“The Goldner String Quartet judges the Elgar idiom persuasively, finding that blend of sensibility and muscularity, wistful meditation and optimistic motivation. The main works are the E minor String Quartet (1918) and the A minor Piano Quintet...both are played with distinction, and with a secure grasp of the give and take of pulse that is integral to Elgar’s music.” The Telegraph, 14th July 2011 ***
“The Quartet is delicately charming, with an exquisite Elgarian touch that the Goldners capture most sympathetically, without sentimentalising it. They also give an excellent performance with Piers Lane of the better known, much more dramatic Piano Quintet, tracing its mood swings seamlessly and handling the great Adagio with the unaffected restraint it deserves.” Financial Times, 23rd July 2011
“This is one of those rare discs that give pleasure and food for thought in equal measure...when [Elgar's chamber music] is played with the kind of understanding shown by these five musicians it leaves one wondering how anyone could miss the subtle variety, the elegant sophistication under the surface...The whole experience is a valuable reminder that Elgar doesn't display his originality openly.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 *****
“In the Elgar Piano Quintet, they make the most of the work's Brahmsian qualities balancing solidity with élan, tenderness with tension, delicacy with ferocity. The String Quartet is likewise treated with sensitivity, subtlety and great understanding of its tremulous, troubled nature. Lane gives an affectionate account of the little piano pieces.” Classic FM Magazine, September 2011 *****
“No beating about the bush: the Goldners give the most sublimely articulate and raptly communicative reading of Elgar's elusive String Quartet that it's been my privilege to encounter. It's not just their fabulous technical address and scrupulous adherence to the text that are so impressive...but the recreative ardour, tumbling fantasy and sinewy strength they bring to this marvellous score make it seem as though the ink is barely dry on the manuscript” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011