Kuhlau, Malling: Piano Quartets (SACD)

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Copenhagen Piano Quartet

The prizewinning Copenhagen Piano Quartet presents works by composers cosmopolitan and conservative, but each brimming with charm. German-born Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832) declared his Piano Quartet No. 3 ‘my best to date’, speaking of a large-scale work of drama offset by grace and highlighting the composer’s contrapuntal gift. A century later, the C minor quartet by the ‘Danish Saint-Saëns’ Otto Malling (1848-1915) presents a perfect picture of this master craftsman’s clarity and concision while showing tantalizing signs of his sensuality too.

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Piano Quartet No. 3 in G minor, op. 108 (1829)

  • 1. I Allegro con molto fuoco
  • 2. II Allegro assai
  • 3. III Adagio
  • 4. IV Allegro poco agitato

Piano Quartet in C minor, op. 80 (1903)

  • 5. I Allegro – Presto – Largo 
  • 6. II Allegro – Trio 
  • 7. III Andante – Poco più animato – Tempo I – Poco più animato – Tempo I
  • 8. IV Finale. Allegro con fuoco

The Classical Music Collector

"The Da Capo label exists primarily to promote the music of Danish composers, who tend to be considered marginal. Both the composers on this new CD are unfamiliar, Malling particularly, but their music is of a notably high quality. Kuhlau was an almost exact contemporary of Beethoven, and this serious and substantial Third Piano Quartet serves notice that he urgently deserves revival. If nothing else, his tunes are very memorable, but this music is unquestionably among the most assured and accomplished of its time, and the Piano Quartet has a strong sense of drama and vision. Otto Malling, by contrast, was writing in the late 19th century, and his Piano Quartet is more concise than Kuhlau, but nonetheless offers an almost Brahmsian expressivity and elegance. If you enjoy chamber music, and want to investigate a wider range of repertoire, this is a very good place to start, but in truth anyone who appreciates excellent music and musicmaking will enjoy this disc." - Chris Dench