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Brahms, Bridge & Walton

Bridge Phantasy Piano Quartet in F sharp minor (1911)
Walton Piano Quartet (1918-1919)
Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor Op 25

Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) Eniko Magyar (viola)
James Barralet (cello) Hiroaki Takenouchi (piano)

7/11/2011 6.30 at Conway Hall, London

The first experience of a fairly new world-class piano quartet, at Conway Hall's Sunday Series. Each player has impressive CVs which don't exaggerate; the pianist & violist known to me, the others PLG alumni.

Frank Bridge had gained a Cobbett Prize for his Phantasy for String Quartet in 1905, and produced this one a few years later, a richly romantic contribution to the piano quartet repertoire.

The young William Walton wrote his surprisingly original Piano Quartet in 1918/1921, already with his spiky rhythmic trademark. The gave it with great panache to the surprised delight of many of us; a work which should feature more often in chamber music concerts. (It was dedicated to the Bishop of Ripon, who had been Dean of Christ Church while Walton was in the choir school there, and will be given in Ripon Cathedral by these players tomorrow).

Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor Op 25 is very long and can be difficult to bring off, especially the Gipsy rondo finale. Unobtrusively guided by Takenuchi, who has become a virtuoso at his instrument, theirs was one of the most enjoyable accounts of it I'd ever heard, more so than several by rated "international" groups.

Peter Grahame Woolf