D Matthews & Shostakovich - Piano Quintets
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Cat No: SOMMCD0157
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 1st April 2016
ArtistsVilliers String Quartet
Martin Cousin (piano)
David Matthews wrote his Piano Quintet in 2004 as an engagement present for his wife Jenifer, so in his view, its overall happy mood is appropriate. The two outer movements of the four-movement Quintet are essentially lyrical, while the middle movements are dance movements, with the chaconne third movement a blend of song and dance. The second movement is a Tango, a form that has come to interest Matthews a great deal, whilst the Finale was inspired by a walking holiday in Italy during which, on Easter Sunday morning, he heard the bells of a convent near the town of Montefalco.
Shostakovich's five-movement Piano Quintet op.57 is arguably the finest of the few notable piano quintets of the 20th century. Shostakovich organised his Quintet with considerable skill, and despite the overall mood of contemplation it still retains a vein of light poetry which can be traced throughout the piece in various guises. When first performed by the Beethoven Quartet in November 1940, it was awarded a Stalin prize of 100,000 roubles, a gesture which seemed to confirm the complete public rehabilitation of the composer in the eyes of the regime.
The Villiers Quartet and Martin Cousin are too well-known and well established to need a special introduction but an excerpt from a recent communication by David Matthews says it all: "Martin, James, Tamaki, Carmen, Nick - thank you all for a superb recording, full of warmth and passion. I'm absolutely delighted."
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