The publishers of the Elgar Edition are used to exploring the darkest recesses of Elgar's output and, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth in 2007, it located three incomplete movements for piano trio, entrusting the task of making them into performable entities to Paul Rooke. Only the final movement has a known history, the 'March for the Grafton Family' a version of the 1924 Empire March. The second movement, a Menuetto and Trio from 1882,was written for private performance for his friend Charles Buck in Settle, Yorkshire (in 1915 Elgar returned to the piece and reused the Trio as the salonpiece Rosemary). The first piece is a Lento assai-Allegro moderato of 1029. The spirit of noble Edwardian yearning runs through the music. The Menuetto and Trio is pure delight, Elgar in the light mood he so excelled at. The three performers are magnificent here in projecting veiled insouciance just as they revel in the withheld grandeur of the finale. The sound of Sturrock's Fazioli piano integrates effortlessly with the strings. Paul Rooke has done a fine job in his restorations. He explains in the booklet just how much he had to invent: the opening movement was in fragmentary form. Much of the transition and second theme is only retained in single lines. Rooke decided, rather than complete what was seemingly a sonata-form movement,to only deal with the exposition, placing a repeat mark at the end. The second movement was more complete, while the finale had neatly written out string parts, with a far less neat piano part in need of much correction and additions. Annoyingly perhaps, the piano part was fully 10 measures longer than the violin and cello parts.
Adela Maddison (l882-1919 born Adela Tindal) was married to the director of the music publisher Metzler, thus providing an outlet for her creative talents to be made public. Adela and her husband had a vill ain France (in Rennes) where Faure visited them. Faure's influence is allegedly detectable in Maddison's songs. In l898 Adela moved to Paris by herself. She met a wide variety of famous musicians, including Ravel, Schmitt, Debussy, and Delius. From Paris she went to Berlin. Her opera Der Talisman, was performed in Leipzig in 1910. The approaching war forced her back to her home country. The Piano Quintet heard here dates from 1916 and was premiered at Wigmore Hall in 1920 (it was revived in April 2007 by members of the group featured here which calls itself the Fibonacci Sequence. The music itself is rather diffuse but at the same time ever fascinating.......
(In the Bridge Quartet) The first movement is expansive. Although only 9.47, it feels longer because of Bridge's sense of space. Development is unhurried. A moment of held-breath calm right in the center is pure magic.
Kathron Sturrock's stunning articulation leads to some passages in the Scherzo that positively glisten. The movement is characterized by a gossamer lightness. In contrast, intimacy is the order of the day for the Poco adagio which opens with a superbly played expressive cello solo from Benjamin Hughes. Counterpoint flowers beautifully after a string fanfare. The finale, hectic and dramatic at the same time, is given a performance of the utmost integrity. A moment of appealing respite two minutes before the end is particularly noteworthy. All three pieces here are world premiere recordings. Revelatory.