Monday, May 1, 2017

Kuhlau, Friedrich. (1786-1832) Chamber music.

From my collection.
Bought in 2010.
First listen: CD 1, 28-9-2010 (3 times) Second listen: 1-5-2017.
First listen: CD 2, 17-2-2014. Second listen: 1-5-2017.
Label: Dacapo. ( 2CD'S)
Recordings dates: February- May and July 1996.
Recording venue: Focus Recording.
Recording engineer: Hans Nielsen.
Running time: 65:39 and 57:45.
Classical relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed: 

Piano Quartet in C minor, opus 32. (1821)
Piano Quartet in A major, opus 50. (1823)
Piano Quartet in G minor, opus 108. (1829)
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F minor, opus 33. (1821)


Elisabeth Westenholz, Piano.
Tutter Givskov, Violin.
Lars Grunth, Viola.
Asger Lund Christiansen, Cello.

Kuhlau is a composer who incorporates a lot of drive and enthusiasm in this music. Very alert and precise, writing with a fine sense for catching melodies. The performance, which is very earthbound, enhances all those things. The quartets are in their expression a bit too fierce, and often the tempi feel a tad rushed. A very immediate mode of expression, which harbours a bit of aggressiveness in melodic lines. The rhythms are buoyant and full of life, but I would have liked them to be a bit more mellow.  As to the ensembles dissemination of the music into an understandable narrative I have to say that it could not have been done better. And that is the biggest compliment I will give. They say that Kuhlau, of German birth, together with Weyse, were the the greatest Danish composers of the early Romantic period, and that might well be. But Kuhlau was also a bit of a cosmopolitan, Mozart and Beethoven are never far away, so he composed in a very broad European way.  If you want to sample his music, just listen to the second movement of opus 108, such a fine example of what Kuhlau was capable of.  His music is for me one of the better things of that period. Musically it is very approachable and well written. Provocative and atrociously difficult to play at times, for instance the Allegro in the A major, ultimately all the works on both CD'S leave nothing to desire.

The performance could have been a bit more elegant, and relaxed, but they make up in precision. The sound is quite good.

My playlist for 25-4-2018.

If by any chance you might be interested in my thoughts or feelings about the recordings of today, please let me know, and I will provide ad...