WS Ben­nett

BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber -

Cham­ber Trio; String Quar­tet in G; Sex­tet in F sharp mi­nor

Jeremy Young (pi­ano), Leon Bosch (dou­ble bass); Vil­liers Quar­tet

Naxos 8.571379 77:30 mins

Best known for his pi­ano con­cer­tos, Wil­liam

Stern­dale Ben­nett also wrote a no­table body of cham­ber mu­sic. This new re­lease, if a lit­tle un­even in places, still shines a wel­come light on three lit­tle-heard works. Most sub­stan­tial is the Sex­tet in F sharp mi­nor, a colour­ful and tightly-struc­tured work for string quin­tet (in­clud­ing dou­ble bass) plus pi­ano. Writ­ten in Ben­nett’s fi­nal year of study at the Royal Academy of Mu­sic, the Sex­tet is closely mod­elled on Men­delssohn, with whom he warmly cor­re­sponded for sev­eral years. The Vil­liers Quar­tet are a touch low on en­ergy at the work’s open­ing, and in­to­na­tion is not al­ways se­cure; how­ever, Jeremy Young brings sparkle and a real sense of nar­ra­tive to the vir­tu­osic pi­ano part. The fi­nale hap­pily draws a com­pelling per­for­mance from the whole en­sem­ble who pro­vide all the drama and ex­u­ber­ance that Ben­nett’s score de­mands.

Ben­nett viewed his ★ayd­nesque String Quar­tet in G ma­jor as some­thing of a tech­ni­cal ex­er­cise, and the Vil­liers Quar­tet of­fer a com­mend­ably com­mit­ted if slightly rough-edged ac­count in this pre­miere record­ing. More ap­peal­ing is the Cham­ber Trio. The most ma­ture of the three pieces fea­tured, the work abounds in warmth and hu­mour, es­pe­cially in the play­ful pizzi­cato ‘Ser­e­nade’. Kate Wake­l­ing

PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★

RECORD­ING ★★★

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