HERMANN GOETZ - Piano Quartet - Piano Quintet

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HERMANN GOETZ - Piano Quartet in E major, Op. 6 - Piano Quintet in C minor, Op. 16 - Oliver Triendl (Piano) - Marina Chiche (Violin) - Peijun Xu (Viola) - Niklas Schmidt (Cello) - Matthias Beltinger (Double Bass) - 4250702800613 - Released: August 2015 - TYXart TXA15061

Play a piece of music that is easily recognizable to someone and their immediate reaction or response is to say: "Hey, I know this music ... it's very nice ... beautiful." Play something they've never heard before, and you're greeted with a baffled look and a quick expression of dislike on their part. Someone who's heard Pachelbel's 'Canon' one hundred times and has heard Barber's 'Adagio for Strings' only once will tell you that the Pachelbel is a much better piece of music. Try and explain to them that the only reason why they think that is because they are familiar with it, and you are in for a long and heated argument.

German composer Hermann Goetz (1840-1876) was a contemporary of Johannes Brahms, the music of which everyone is familiar with and therefore loves and admires. But because the music of Hermann Goetz has been rarely performed or recorded, and is unfamiliar, we tend to discard it or pay it less attention than it deserves, which is the root cause of the problem. How many possible masterpieces have been overlooked throughout the centuries for that exact reason? Hermann Goetz composed two symphonies, two piano concertos, various piano pieces and a handful of chamber music works amongst other things. I believe, if the two works on this CD are to be used for reference, that his music is on an equal footing with that of Brahms or Schumann for example. It may not be as outwardly dramatic, but it's inner dialogue glows with the same expressive fire, and is the work of a technically secure mind. The Piano Quartet in E major, Op. 6 for example is characterized by fluid and forward moving ideas, with a brilliantly developed first movement, expressive slow movement, spirited Scherzo, and highly charged and multi-faceted final movement. An indication of his creative mind is how easily he introduces a melody or motif and runs away with it with a clear sense of momentum and direction. It's tragic that he died in his mid 30s because he certainly had the makings to become a major force of 19th century music.

There's hardly any competition on the market at the moment as far as recordings of his music are concerned. It's nice to see a music label as young as TYXart extending itself with a new series of recordings titled 'Classical and Romantic Treasures' focusing on chamber music by forgotten composers. Pianist Oliver Triendl, Marina Chiche on violin, Peijun Xu viola, Niklas Schmidt cello and Matthias Beltinger on double bass, certainly have a blank canvas to work with here, concerning the expressive approach to take via these two neglected works, but I have a feeling they've already made them their own and have set the standard very high.

Leave Brahms on the shelf for a while and introduce Goetz to your CD player. Guaranteed it won't take long before familiarity sets in, quickly followed by admiration.

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2015