Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Artur Schnabel Chamber Music

String Quartet No. 1 & Notturno

String Quartet No. 5; Piano Trio; Seven Piano Pieces

Pellegrini Quartett etc

CPO: 777 622-2 & CPO: 999 881-2

Revered and collected still as a classical pianist, Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) had hoped to retire from the concert stage and devote himself full time to composing when he approached 50, but he was not able to afford to do so.

These discs are, for me, a major discovery. Schnabel was an accomplished and original composer, his music thoroughly viable to today's tastes.

The two quartets of his five (1918 & 1940 respectively) are a little wayward, with changes of tempo within movements and many a captivating and spontaneous sounding idea. The piano trio is a splendid work, reflecting his own performing experience of that genre; I remember Schnabel in trios with Szigeti & Fournier at London's Central Hall, Westminster - memorably sitting on a straight-backed chair instead of a piano stool. But never did he play a note of his own music, still in the 2000s a well kept secret in UK.

The Pellegrini Quartet does full justice to both quartets. The vocal Notturno to Dehmel [Noa Frenkel (alto) & Irmela Roelcke, piano] suffers from a bi-lingual text which lacks some parts and is impossible to follow. The interesting piano pieces in the second disc date from the 1940s, as do the rest of the works there.

I look forward to hearing more of Schnabel's music, including the three middle quartets. Recommended to collectors who are curious about famous performers who also compose; there are more of them than you might guess.

Peter Grahame Woolf