The admired Goldner String Quartet presents two utterly charming—yet little-known—examples of French chamber music by contemporaneous composers Pierné and Vierne.
Pierné’s fame came from his conducting, and his compositions are forgotten today. His Piano Quintet shows the influences of Massenet and Franck which characterize his music, and features the Basque dance ‘zortzico’.
Vierne was a celebrated organist, and his compositions for organ are heard every Sunday wherever there are suitable instruments and performers. His String Quartet shows a lighter side: it contains the Intermezzo, described by Roger Nichols as ‘quite simply one of the most delicious movements in all French chamber music. Over it hovers the spirit of Berlioz’s ‘Queen Mab Scherzo’ and of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, conjured up by pizzicatos, tremolos and dancing phrases that suddenly turn on a centime piece from one key to another’.
as this stylish account [of the Vierne] by the Goldner Quartet makes clear, it has a striking concision of expression, and the flitting of the Intermezzo is magical...Piers Lane joins the fun for Pierné's Piano Quintet...with the advocacy of this finely nuanced performance, Pierné's rhythmic and timbral invention shine through. BBC ****
it would be hard to imagine a more persuasive or compelling performance [of the Pierné] than this one...What is striking is how attuned to the medium [Vierne] is, and the work is full of wonderfully effective writing...this is a fascinating and eminently worthwhile addition to the catalogue. Gramophone
One would have little difficulty guessing that the performers are not French...The Goldner's sound is rather beefy for this music; no one could accuse them of precious understatement...Having said that, I admit that these are very well-thought-out performances. Int. Record Review
The Goldner String Quartet are on the edge of their seats [in the Vierne], and in the quartet probably the edge of their techniques (remember, Vierne was not a string writer), but they can breathe more easily in the big Pierné piece, where the challenges come in making the huge work flow seamlessly and expressively. MusicWeb