Goldner String Quartet Elgar review

The Observer, Sunday 12 June 2011
Stephen Pritchard
Elgar: Piano Quintet, Op 84; String Quartet, Op 83 – review (Hyperion)

Considering these works were written within a year of each other, it is remarkable how dissimilar they are; the quintet spacious and elegiac, the quartet nervous and fidgety. The quintet is given real stature in this very fine recording, with the Goldners and Piers Lane revelling in the expansive themes of the opening moderato and the unashamedly romantic adagio. The Goldners bring the same emotional intensity to the febrile quartet with its shifting tonality and quirky rhythmic scheme, before Lane presents some fascinating miniatures; four little pieces for piano, including “Mina”, a portrait of Elgar’s terrier, and a an impromptu which lasts a mere 27 seconds, written with a twirl of the moustache for a secretary who had obviously charmed the 72-year-old romantic.

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