Having not written any chamber music between 1840 and 1879, César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor is comparable to a volcanic eruption of four decades of pent-up passion.
Amatis Piano Trio and Friends, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh * * * * *
In a breath-taking performance, the Amatis Piano Trio, joined by Aleksey Semenenko on violin and Eivind Ringstad on viola, presented a work that deserves to be made more familiar.
Coming together as friends through BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, the five instrumentalists are clearly all exceptional musicians in their own right. As a quintet, the polished assurance of their ensemble playing, particularly the unanimity of tone and balance, nailed every aspect of Franck’s richly luscious and sensual score. The resolute style of their combined forces built up the weight of the music’s intensity, but also had gorgeous moments of interchange between, for instance, viola and cello or the two violins, with a creamy full sound from piano too. Dvořák’s Op 81 Piano Quintet No 2, an inherently cheerful piece, received a similarly vigorous interpretation, going from full power through a range of dynamics. Beautiful solo lines shimmered as its tuneful themes were passed from one player to another, making way for a gloriously swirling scherzo based on a Czech waltz.