The Fibonacci Sequence has been around for 15 years, and their new release can be viewed as a testimony to their current prestige - or as an example of how they've earned it. For after completing three Elgar compositions for piano trio, Paul Adrian Rooke has not only allowed this ensemble to offer the world premiere recordings but he has also written authoritative booklet notes for them.
Not content with that coup, the Sequence resurrects a Frank Bridge piano quartet that had lain dormant for 103 years before resurfacing at a concert in 2006. Yet the ultimate coup de grace for Fibonacci founder and artistic director Kathron Sturrock is surely the exhumation of Adela Maddison (l862 -1929) - a composer who had drifted off the radar until Sturrock championed her formidable Piano Quintet at Wigmore Hall in 2007 - after 87 years of neglect......
Unlike the prolonged hibernation of Maddison's Quintet, Bridge intentionally suppressed his C-minor Quartet along with three other pieces written in his student days at the Royal College of Music. The composer's diffidence sounds totally unwarranted here. Compared with his Trio 2, written as quarter of a century later, Bridge's early piano quartet displays some of the same characteristics in full bloom.The felicitous use of pizzicatos in the Scherzo is just one symptom of Bridge's maturity. Piano writing in the stately theme of the opening Allegro and the rousing launch of the final Presto, is imprinted with the com poser's full palette and personality. Advocacy by the ensemble is particularly eloquent in these turbulent outer movements, the first ending with a touching soft fade
and the last putting forth hairpin turns in tempo and volleys of pizzicatos before the
The three Elgar pieces, strung together at the beginning of the program, were composed between l892 and l924. While none of them equals the Piano Quintet for making me wish that Elgar had devoted more attention to chamber music, the 'Lento assai' clearly glows
with the fire of lofty ambition, and the Minuet and Trio- paced unexpectedly rapidly at the start and subsiding into soulful melancholy in its midsection - is an elegant gem with a Viennese lilt. Only the 'March for Grafton', as trio reduction of the Empire March is a certifiable trinket. While we don't really need reaffirmation that Elgar could write a march, here it is.