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April 9   -   Guardian

Brahms: Piano Quartet; Schumann: String Quartet No 1 CD review – restless and eloquent

Pacifica Quartet/Menahem Pressler (Cedille)

The pianist Menahem Pressler was a founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, a fabled name in chamber music from 1955 until 2008. Now 93, he is still playing. Inevitably, each new recording has particular value. Here, he thunders and dances through Brahms’s huge F minor quintet Op 34, embracing the grandeur of the opening, the poignancy of the Andante, the turbulence of the Scherzo and the impassioned high drama of the Finale. All goes at such a lick that at times the Pacifica Quartet’s intonation is challenged but the sense of risk makes for an exciting account. Schumann’s Quartet No 1, restless and full of contrasting moods, makes a good companion piece, eloquently played.

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