Two chamber masterpieces from nineteenth-century Russia, performed by Piers Lane and the Goldner String Quartet.
Taneyev has been known as the ‘Russian Brahms’ and this epithet is particularly apposite when considering his Piano Quintet in G minor, especially as regards both its instrumental writing and its intellectual passion. Composed in 1911, this massive work bids fair for the accolade of the greatest work in the Russian piano-chamber repertoire before Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet of 1940. Only the extravagance of its technical demands can explain its failure to establish itself in the standard repertoire.
Arensky’s Piano Quintet of 1900 is less monumental and less flamboyant, though not exactly short of fireworks, especially in the piano writing. It is a deeply attractive and enjoyable work—and equally little-known on the concert platform.
Lane's light-fingered ascents and rapid scalic plunges are perfectly complemented by the Goldners' feather-light string playing. BBC ****
[Taneyev's] Piano Quintet is an expansive work, warmly played here and with the subtle intelligence Taneyev demanded of himself when planning a work...If Taneyev's Quintet is the more impressive, Arensky's is perhaps the more attractive...The piano-writing is deft and delicate, excellently handled by Piers Lane and well balanced with the strings in the recording. Gramophone