• Alexander's Playlist: Ernest Chausson: Concert for Violin, Piano & String Quartet in D Major

    By Alexander Neef

    General Director Alexander Neef shares his favourite music recordings in this series of weekly recommendations.

    Ernest Chausson: Concert for Violin, Piano & String Quartet in D Major
    Itzhak Perlman, violin
    Jorge Bolet, piano
    Julliard String Quartet

    Sony Music, 1982

    For this week's recommendation, I want to draw your attention to the French Romantic composer Ernest Chausson. Although not as well-known as Claude Debussy or Gabriel Fauré, what he managed to contribute over the course of a tragically abbreviated career – he died in a bicycle accident at 44 – suggests that Chausson had all the makings of a major artist finding his stride.

    Chausson studied under Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatory and, like many of the composers who formed his artistic milieu, Chausson responded to the intensely passionate and chromatic musical trail blazed by Wagner. At his most interesting, however, Chausson’s textures and musical ideas are unique rather than merely imitative. His Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet is surely one of the most beautiful and captivating explorations of the chamber genre. This piece is particularly notable for its ambitious scale, which pointed the way for 20th-century artists like Arnold Schoenberg, who would go on to take up large-scale chamber works as a trademark.    

    I’ve always loved the Juilliard String Quartet’s recording of this concerto, featuring the incomparable Itzhak Perlman and virtuosic Cuban pianist Jorge Bolet. Their combination of elements coming together in singular harmony always casts a spell over me. I hope you find the same.

    ––Alexander Neef

    Music credit: Ernest Chausson: Concert for Violin, Piano & String Quartet in D Major; Itzhak Perlman, violin & Jorge Bolet, piano with the Julliard String Quartet; Sony Music, 1982

    Posted in Alexander Neef Playlist


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