Goldner Quartet Elgar recording
The Guardian, London
Andrew Clements, Thursday 16 June 2011
Elgar: Piano Quintet; String Quartet – review
Lane/Goldner Quartet (Hyperion)
The chamber music that Elgar composed in little over a year at the end of the first world war – a violin sonata, followed by the two works on this Hyperion disc – has never gained the popularity of his orchestral works, and in the case of the Piano Quintet, that’s hard to explain. The String Quartet, certainly, is not straightforward; its first movement especially is a tangle of stream-of-consciousness cross-references and sly harmonic shifts, whose quality of elusiveness sometimes recalls that of Fauré’s only string quartet, completed six years later. But the Piano Quintet, for its spectral moments and apparently covert dramatic scenario, is much more expansive, and as this fine account by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet demonstrates, it’s full of highly expressive, authentically Elgarian tunes. The Goldners’ account of the quartet is finely fluent, too, and in both works they resist the temptation to over-egg the climaxes. Between the two, Lane plays a group of Elgar’s piano miniatures, the most intriguing of them the tiny Impromptu from 1932, which sounds like the start of a Novelette that Schumann never completed.