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BRAHMS // Piano Quintet in F minor op.34

Geoffroy Couteau, Quatuor Hermès,

When a long-term project becomes a reality

15,00  13,50 

Estimated delivery by 27/10/2021

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Description

In March 2016, Geoffroy Couteau presented the complete solo piano works of Johannes Brahms in a box set of six discs released by La Dolce Volta. After this magnum opus, the pianist reaffirms his passion for the composer by continuing his musical adventure with a complete recording of Brahms’s chamber music with piano.

With the benevolent complicity of recording producer and sound engineer Jean-Marc Laisné, this marathon project found a home in the exceptional acoustics of the Grande Salle de L’Arsenal in Metz, for eight recording sessions scheduled from January 2018 to September 2020, featuring the Quatuor Hermès, the cellist Raphaël Perraud, the violinist Amaury Coeytaux, the clarinettist Nicolas Baldeyrou and the horn player Vladimir Dubois.

‘The music of Brahms almost always has a sonority combining intensity with gentleness, and that characteristic did a lot to nourish our collective sound during our working sessions with the string quartet.’

Piano Quintet in F minor op.34

 

  • Allegro non troppo 14’53
  • Andante, un poco Adagio 8’00
  • Scherzo : Allegro – Trio 7’20
  • Finale. Poco sostenuto – Allegro non troppo – Presto, non troppo 10’11

 

Klavierstücke op.76

 

  • Capriccio F sharp minor 3’30
  • Capriccio in B minor 3’25
  • Intermezzo in A flat major 2’29
  • Intermezzo in B flat major 2’09
  • Capriccio in C sharp minor 3’09
  • Intermezzo in A major3’20
  • Intermezzo in A minor 2’59
  • Capriccio in C major 3’26

« IMPRESSIVELY MUSCULAR PERFORMANCE » - Sunday Times Culture Magazine

Quatuor Hermès and the pianist Geoffroy Couteau mark this new series with an impressively muscular performance of Brahms’s great F minor Piano Quintet, Op 34, the sharpness of the scherzo’s thrilling hocketings balanced by the slow movement’s penetrating warm-heartedness. Alone Couteau gives intimately opulent readings of the eight exquisitedly distilled Op 76 capriccios and intermezzos.

« THIS IS A FINE PERFORMANCE, AND THE RECORDING IS CLEAR AND WELL BALANCED. » - The Strad

There is a purity in the Hermès’s playing, in contrast to the lush Romantic style of many. Early on they give a firm, almost heroic fortissimo statement of the opening theme, with a wonderful, melting change of character for the following piano melody. The gentle moments are among the most affecting … In the second movement the strings pulse gently above Couteau’s expressive theme before opening out gloriously into their molto espressivo melody. The whole movement has a winning natural flow to it. In the Scherzo the quartet really flexes its muscles, launching into the first fortissimo with big-boned jubilation, and snapping splendidly through the dotted rhythms. The Finale opens out into a great paragraph of colour and vivid contrast. This is a fine performance, and the recording is clear and well balanced.There is a purity in the Hermès’s playing, in contrast to the lush Romantic style of many. Early on they give a firm, almost heroic fortissimo statement of the opening theme, with a wonderful, melting change of character for the following piano melody. The gentle moments are among the most affecting … In the second movement the strings pulse gently above Couteau’s expressive theme before opening out gloriously into their molto espressivo melody. The whole movement has a winning natural flow to it. In the Scherzo the quartet really flexes its muscles, launching into the first fortissimo with big-boned jubilation, and snapping splendidly through the dotted rhythms. The Finale opens out into a great paragraph of colour and vivid contrast. This is a fine performance, and the recording is clear and well balanced.

Geoffroy Couteau

 

Brahms has always fascinated Geoffroy Couteau. After winning First Prize at the International Johannes Brahms Competition in 2005, he went on to record the composer’s complete solo piano works for La Dolce Volta. The specialist press unanimously acknowledged this extraordinary discographical venture by categorising it among the finest recordings of the year 2016.

Geoffroy Couteau has appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Main Auditorium of the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Cidade das Artes in Rio de Janeiro, the Auditorium of the Musée d’Orsay, the Philharmonie de Paris, the Maison de Radio France, the Salle Gaveau and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

He is a regular guest at such festivals as Piano aux Jacobins, Menton, Saintes, Radio France-Montpellier, Lille Piano Festival, L’Esprit du Piano in Bordeaux, the Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo, Piano en Valois, the Chopin festivals of Nohant and Bagatelle, the Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije, and the Eygalières Festival.

Geoffroy Couteau had a dazzlingly successful career at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where he studied with Michel Béroff.

He is now artist in residence at L’Arsenal de Metz, a fertile collaboration that showcases his musical qualities.

 

Quatuor Hermès

 

The Quatuor Hermès, named after the famous messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, draws its musical force from its role as a go-between linking the composer’s text with the audience’s sensibility. The musicians have also established this identity through their travels around the world. Carnegie Hall in New York, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing and Wigmore Hall in London are among the venues that have made the greatest impression on them. The quartet also performs at major international festivals.

The group’s original line-up came together in 2008 at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon, where the four musicians studied with the members of the Quatuor Ravel. They went on to enrich their experience with such outstanding personalities as the Quatuor Ysaÿe, the Artemis Quartett, Eberhard Feltz, and later Alfred Brendel, an immense inspiration with whom they still work regularly today. Open to a wide range of repertory, they regularly share the concert platform with illustrious musicians, among them Yo-Yo Ma, Nicholas Angelich, Gregor Sigl, Pavel Kolesnikov, Kim Kashkashian, Anne Gastinel, and the Ébène and Auryn quartets.

The Quatuor Hermès has won numerous first prizes, notably at the Geneva Competition and the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. It receives the support of the Fondation Banque Populaire. After being quartet in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels from 2012 to 2016, it has been associate quartet with the Fondation Singer-Polignac in Paris since 2019.

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