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Berwald: Complete Works for Piano Quintet CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, February 22, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Uppsala Chamber Soloists, Bengt-Åke Lundin
  • Composer: Franz Berwald
  • Audio CD (February 22, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 70.36 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004GLLY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,195 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By M. C. Passarella on August 4, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If you enjoy the Berwald symphonies, you will certainly enjoy these quintets. They have all the hallmarks of Berwald's orchestral music: bubbling melodies, mercurial turns of phrase, the Schubertian interplay of dark and light. In fact, the only criticism that can be lodged against them is that they retain the glittery run-dominated pianism of earlier chamber works for piano, such as those by Weber, Schubert, and Hummel, not venturing into the newer pianistic sound world promulgated by Schumann, Mendelssohn, et al. in their chamber music.

Interestingly, the A Major Quintet is dedicated to Liszt, who earlier bridled at Schumann's Piano Quintet as being too "Leipzigerisch." How this champion of program music came to value Berwald's classically minded quintets of the 1850s probably speaks to Liszt's usual generosity of nature (which in his defense he showed more often to Schumann than the latter did to him in return). Then again, the Berwald quintets recycle music from some of the tone poems the composer wrote, probably in Vienna, in the 1840s, so maybe Liszt was responding to extramusical references after all. Be that as it may, Liszt was on to something when he praised Berwald's quintets because they are inventive, attractive works by any standard.

The performances by the Upsala Chamber Soloists and Bengt-Ake Lundin are bright and assured and are captured in clean, wide-ranging sonics in the flattering acoustics of the Alfven Hall, Upsala.
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Berwald was rarely perfoormmed in Sweden during his life-time. A few people know his symphonies which have been recorded by Naxos and others, but don't miss out on his chamber music which is some of the most beautiful I have ever heard. is first quintet is highly tuneful but pales in comparison to his second which was praised by Liszt. This CD conains two additional movements which may have been included in performance. Berwalds piano quintets in this recording are so touching and beautifully played they become esstential for any basic classic music collection I own hunreds of Naxos discs and this is one of my favorite.

Please excuse typos I have a neurologigic disease.
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Berwald's chamber music is filled with such originality, panache and--a thing of rare quality after Beethoven--A SENSE OF HUMOR. Whether we listen to his duos or his quintets he never ceases to please. Liszt admired Berwald, but he warned him not to expect to be discovered during his lifetime.
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