Compositions: String Quartet, Piano Quintet
Performers: Martin Roscoe p, Brodsky Quartet
Catalogue Number: Chandos CHAN10980
Since forming in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet recorded generously for Teldec (now on Warner Classics) as well as producing crosssover discs of appeal and style before moving on to record for other labels. They are currently with esteemed British label Chandos, and this release is timely as it is 100 years since the first public performance of both Elgar’s String Quartet and the Piano Quintet. The live premiere was given at the Wigmore Hall.
Along with the Violin Sonata, this trio of works would be the only mature chamber works that Sir Edward would write, though there would be other attempts – works that had been promised to the other (and original) Brodsky Quartet that the legendary British violinist Albert Sammons would form for the purpose of playing them. This trio of works can also stand unsupported beside and compared with the greatest French works of the time by the likes of Debussy and Ravel.
The E Minor String Quartet is a sensitive work, and dedicated by Elgar to the leader of the Hallé Orchestra – the other Mr Brodsky – Mr Adolph Brodsky. It’s then on with the Piano Quintet and a more assured and ‘public’ performance of the work than the Quartet has been given. However the performance by the Goldner Quartet and Piers Lane on that other great English label, Hyperion, may just have the edge in clarity and balance.