1. Piano Trio No2 in G Minor, Op73 - Allegro moderato
2. Piano Trio No2 in G Minor, Op73 - Andante
3. Piano Trio No2 in G Minor, Op73 - Presto
4. Piano Trio No2 in G Minor, Op73 - Larghetto - Allegro con fuoco
5. Piano Quartet No1 in F, Op15 - Allegro con brio
6. Piano Quartet No1 in F, Op15 - Scherzo, allegro vivace
7. Piano Quartet No1 in F, Op15 - Poco adagio
8. Piano Quartet No1 in F, Op15 - Allegro con brio
Completed in April 1879 and premiered the following month at one of Hans Richter’s Festival Concerts in London by a distinguished ad hoc ensemble including the composer-pianist Xaver Scharwenka, Stanford’s First Piano Quartet proves quite a find, its superbly swaggering outer movements framing a captivating ‘hop, skip and jump’ of a Scherzo, whose contrastingly serene Trio melody reappears to magical effect at the end of the gloriously long-breathed, memorably heartfelt slow movement. Small wonder the gifted 26-year-old Irishman was beginning to make a name for himself both at home and abroad. The Second Piano Trio dates from two decades later and represents another mightily impressive achievement: not only is the writing brimming with skill and confidence, there’s also a wealth of eloquent inspiration, above all perhaps the piano’s nobly Beethovenian main theme that launches the Andante slow movement, as well as much subtle thematic interplay and harmonic resourcefulness besides.
It would be hard to improve upon the Gould Piano Trio’s irresistibly stylish and fervent advocacy of both these uncommonly rewarding works; indeed, they sound as if they have been playing this repertoire for many moons, and in the Piano Quartet they generate an infectious rapport with the excellent viola player David Adams. What’s more, both production values (Michael Ponder, working in the the Music Room at Champs Hill, West Sussex) and annotation (our very own Jeremy Dibble) are all one could desire. A coupling to relish, this, and most enthusiastically recommended.