CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Piano Quintet, Op. 80, String Quartet No. 3, Op. 72.
Catalogue Number: 04L072
Reference: AR 2009-1
Description: The big (42 minutes) piano quintet was written between 1917 and 1921 and was wholly inspired by Koechlin's horror at the slaughter produced in the Great War. The first two movements "A murky wait for what will happen..." (which seems to place us in a muddy trench in thick fog, frozen with fear, fatigue and morbid anticipation) and "The Enemy Attack - The Wound" (more of the same, after an initial outburst of frantic action except instead of anticipation, it's retrospection) are remarkably forward-looking in their occasional atonality and the slowness demanded requires great concentration and "reverse" virtuosity; "Consoling Nature" is a beautiful, tonal dream and the finale "Joy" is a glorious celebration of life with chorales, pealing bells and dance-like motives. The concentrated, four-movement quartet (also finished in 1921) lasts under 14 minutes oddly mirrors the later quintet in tempi and has a sardonic scherzo which looks forward to Shostakovich but also a luminous slow movement and bright finale. Sarah Lavaud (piano), Antigone Quartet.