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Title - 'Piano Quartets - Brahms; Schumann; Mahler'
Artist - David Finckel, Wu Han, Daniel Hope, Paul Neubauer

Bold, lush, and exquisite piano quartets by Mahler, Schumann, and Brahms comprise this unforgettable program. The stellar cast here on Piano Quartets - Brahms; Schumann; Mahler includes CMS Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, the dynamic violinist Daniel Hope, and viola legend Paul Neubauer.

For those in the know of what to expect when buying and then listening to this excellent, stirring new classical release, you'll already understand that you will be musically beholden to two of the greatest 19th century piano quartets: the Brahms Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor Op.25 and the Schumann Piano Quartet in E Flat Op.47.

The Schumann piano quartet is an early Romantic work, composed in 1842, that still owes much to the Classical era's intrinsic restraint in musical utterance and dynamics and in its attentive awareness of order and form. It is a beautifully constructed work full of Schumann's sheer joy in the sense of freedom that free-flowing composition always provided him, before self-doubt became an issue and made composing difficult.

The quartet of David Finckel, Wu Han, Daniel Hope and Paul Neubauer is beautifully melodic and rhythmically vigorous with an especially brilliant third movement andante cantabile and fourth movement finale vivace. Ergo, the sound of this recording is crisp and full, with the piano occupying the center and provided with just a touch of reverb in order to add a pleasing warmth of tone.

Modern recordings have immaculate presence and a wide, fully-realized soundstage and this one is no exception. DGG's engineers have created a nice theatrical presentation for instrumental sound that adds to the intrinsic drama of the three works.