Gorgeous, undervalued music
Marcus K. Maroney | 03/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mostly known nowadays as Benjamin Britten's teacher, Frank Bridge was a composer of great, deeply moving works. Fans of Bridge's Cello Sonata will know what to expect on this CD, and won't be disappointed by the accomplished performances.
The Piano Trio No. 2, last on this disc, impacts one deeply, assimilating Scriabin's mysticism and Schoenberg's chromaticism into Bridge's own pungent handling of tonality. The addition of viola to the group for the Phantasy Piano Quartet adds body to the texture, and the outer slow movements of this provide a symmetrical frame to the wonderfully spiky Allegro middle movement. The Piano Trio No. 1 brought Bridge much acclaim when it was premiered. Its Lisztian formal device of spreading a sonata-allegro design over multiple "movements" works extremely well, and the dramatic impulse of the music is infectious.
The recorded sound is excellent - balance is great and the piano is recorded with clarity and a slight brightness that works especially well in the faster music. Intonation and tone quality of the string players is uniformly very high."
Skeller | 08/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of Frank Bridge, you must own this disc - if you are not a fan of Frank Bridge, you will become one after hearing the shattering, deeply moving Piano Trio No. 2. The Trio is part of Bridge's late style - is does contain dissonance but is in no way "ugly". The entire Trio is based on one short theme - the way Bridge uses this theme in various ways is one of the piece's great joys. If you open yourself up to this piece, listen to it without expectation but with curiosity, you may find it to be an exhilirating experience. As a bonus, you get two of Bridge's earlier works, less challenging but charming none the less, and the playing on all the pieces is superb. I could not recommend this disc more highly."