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Elgar: Piano Quintet / Violin Sonata

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The Nash Ensemble has built up a remarkable reputation as one of Britain's finest and most adventurous chamber groups, and through the dedication of its founder and artistic director Amelia Freedman and the calibre of its players has gained a similar reputation all over the world. Its repertoire is vast, and the imaginative, innovative, and unusual programmes are as finely designed as the ... Read more in Amazon's The Nash Ensemble Store

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Product details

  • Performer: The Nash Ensemble
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (1 July 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZSL
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,408 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Violin Sonata In E Minor Op. 82: Allegro
2. Violin Sonata In E Minor Op. 82: Romance (Andante)
3. Violin Sonata In E Minor Op. 82: Allegro non troppo
4. Piano Quintet In A Minor Op. 84: Moderato - Allegro
5. Piano Quintet In A Minor Op. 84: Adagio
6. Piano Quintet In A Minor Op. 84: Moderato - Allegro

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scriabinmahler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Nov. 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderfully refined performance of Elgar's Piano Quintet, played by Nash Ensemble with breath taking subtlety, imagination and much Elgarian yearning. Piano is perfectly balanced with strings and they produce vivid and glowing timbre. Violin Sonata is played a bit too fast for my taste, but equally fine performance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 May 2013
Format: Audio CD
The Elgar Violin Sonata first gripped me in my teens, when the string-crossing arpeggios seemed like something totally amazing, and that magical chromatic descent. At the time I didn't know the other two movements - in fact it is probably the slow movement that is the most remarkable. It has a totally heartfelt quality that comes across in all Elgar's best works - at least, it's the side of his writing that I like the best - and its tenderness puts it on a level with the greatest Romantic sonatas, up there with the Franck, yet so much less known. This recording by Marcia Crayford and Ian Brown of the Nash Ensemble is inspiring. Passionate, bold and tender by turns, it gives the strongest advocacy to Elgar's sublime outpourings. The Piano Quintet is equally good on all fronts, comparing very well with Piers Lane's recent version, also on Hyperion. The sound is perfection, with the most beautiful bloom on the piano, and the character of the music is vividly projected - again, you feel you are listening to a masterpiece that should be regarded alongside those of Schumann and Brahms. The cover painting is very well chosen; it's by one John Atkinson Grimshaw and is in the Leeds art gallery. It embodies a certain English spirit while having a magical light - it couldn't be more apt as a visual equivalent to the music.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Superlative Performances of Elgar's Full-Blooded and Distressed Chamber Music 3 Jun. 2015
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Elgar's great accomplishments in the realm of chamber music were all completed in the summer of 1917 during his stay at the secluded Brinkwells Cottage. There he penned the Piano Quintet, Violin Sonata, and String Quartet--all deeply personal minor-key works. The isolation of the cottage coupled with news of friends dying on the front colored the tone of these chamber works, which are serious, poignant, and introspective. Elgar's treatment of the instruments is surprisingly heavy and forceful, suggesting symphonic weight in sound that pushes the chamber texture to its sonic limits.

The Violin Sonata in E minor, an exquisite work of its kind, is a full-blooded post-Brahmsian conception that attains orchestral sonorities. Elgar gives both parts equal significance, although frequently the piano takes on the drama, as evident in the first movement's coda, which unfurls as a rivulet of titanic chords. Apart from the gradually ascending climax, the second movement is quiet and contemplative, expressing tenderness and aching emotion through the violin lines. Brahms is evoked in the beautiful finale, rich with melody and sweltering passion. Overall, this is an excellent work, not quite at the level of Bridge's Violin Sonata, but certainly deserving of more attention.

In the Piano Quintet, Elgar again strives for symphonic writing and gives the strings virtuosic and demanding parts that often carry the emotional gravity. Brahms is the major influence, which comes across most saliently in the first movement. Stentorian drama prevails in the first theme, but most remarkable is the powerful development section, a maelstrom of thick earth-shattering chords and cascading virtuosic writing for the strings. The Elgar who can move us to tears with Nimrod is also present in the slow movement, a heart-felt outpouring of pathos in which the strings carry the momentum.

The Nash Ensemble has once again offered an astonishing performance with gripping urgency and immaculate dynamics. Ian Brown, the pianist, has recorded the Piano Quintet several times with other ensembles. His presence is commanding and matches the strings in all their vehemence and volume.

Bottom line: The Piano Quintet is a significant work of dramatics and serious emotion that rewards repeated listenings. I would place it at the forefront of best English piano quintets in the literature, along with Bax, Bridge, and Vaughan Williams. The Violin Sonata probes similar emotional territory, although it doesn't have the lasting impression of the quintet.
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