Peter Quantrill

Peter Quantrill  |  Jul 18, 2023  |  0 comments
Abstract statement, or central chapter in a musical autobiography? Peter Quantrill sifts the recorded legacy for answers to one of Mahler's popular but most enigmatic pieces

There are some wilfully odd things said about the Fifth even by its interpreters. Mehta called it Mahler's Eroica (why? Because it has a funeral march and a happy ending?). Much emphasis is placed on its 'purity' of discourse as though this would make it a better or nobler symphonic statement. According to Bruno Walter, 'nothing in my talks [with Mahler], not a single note of the work, suggests that any intrinsic [extrinsic?] thought or emotion entered into its composition'.

Peter Quantrill  |  Jun 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Lucile Richardot, Stéphane Degout, Anne de Fornel, et AL, Los Angeles PO/Gustavo Dudamel, Veronika Eberle, LSO/Rattle and WDR SO/Łukasz Borowicz.
Peter Quantrill  |  Jun 13, 2023  |  0 comments
Fauré Mark 2? Absolutely not, says Peter Quantrill, as he unravels the mysteries and contradictions surrounding this devotional work, and surveys its history on record

In 1941 the Vichy government of wartime France commissioned pieces from a wide range of composers as part of a nationalist cultural revival. Duruflé was 39 at the time and known more as an organist, not least because he withheld and revised far more music than he published, though in 1936 Paul Paray had conducted the premiere of three orchestral Dances which masterfully synthesise Debussyan impressionism and Ravellian shades of light.

Peter Quantrill  |  May 30, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Sir András Schiff, Stile Antico, Chiaroscuro Quartet and Munich Phil./Zubin Mehta.
Andrew Everard,  |  May 26, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review and test releases from: Takács Quartet, Ralph Towner, Cupertinos/LuÍs Toscano, Eva Bjerga Haugen and Dave Douglas Quintet.
Peter Quantrill  |  May 09, 2023  |  0 comments
Brahms the beardless, Brahms the keyboard revolutionary: the D minor Concerto sorts out pianistic sheep from goats. Peter Quantrill surveys almost a century of recordings

Picture yourself sitting in the audience at the earliest performances of the D minor Concerto, in January 1859, the 25-year-old composer at the keyboard. Imagine that the contemporary piano concerto meant Liszt and Litolff: glitter and fluff, brevity and showmanship. How would you take to the epic first movement, itself as long as several whole Mozart concertos? No wonder that it was hissed in Leipzig – Brahms wrote off the event as a brilliant and decisive failure.

Peter Quantrill  |  Apr 30, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Takács Quartet, Gothic Voices, Clare Hammond and Gens, Orch De Lille/Bloch.
Peter Quantrill  |  Apr 04, 2023  |  0 comments
Peter Quantrill listens back to five centuries of Mass settings and 50 years of recordings and asks how did one French folk song become the seed for an entire musical genre?

It was the 19th century and the Romantic age that elevated originality above all to an artistic goal and an aesthetic standard. Back in an age when composers were treated as musical craftsmen, and wrote accordingly, turning over the tables in the temple of art would have been a baffling ideal.

Peter Quantrill  |  Mar 31, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Dudok Quartet, Soloists/Orfeo Orch/Vashegyi, Cupertinos/Luis Toscano and Leonard Elschenbroich, Alexei Grynyuk.
Peter Quantrill  |  Mar 21, 2023  |  0 comments
An overlooked masterpiece of the mid-20th-century – but how Soviet, or even Russian, should the Third Quartet sound? Peter Quantrill listens back to its history on record

Alongside his Tenth Symphony, Shostakovich took special pride in the Third Quartet, in a way that most artists do, who have to think their latest piece is their best. More telling is the testimony of Fyodor Druzhinin, violist of the Beethoven Quartet at a much later period in the composer's life: 'Only once did I see Shostakovich visibly moved by his own music. We were rehearsing the Third Quartet… When we finished playing he sat quite still in silence like a wounded bird, tears streaming down his face. This was the only time I saw Shostakovich so open and defenceless.'