The Strad Issue: January 2014
Description: Triumphant resuscitation of long-forgotten French chamber works
Musicians: Goldner Quartet, Piers Lane (piano)
Composer: Pierné, Vierne

The record industry continues to titillate with a seemingly unending feast of seldom-performed music. Here we have two names who enjoyed enormous success in their lifetime, but whose chamber music has fallen into oblivion. In the case of Gabriel Pierné, his career as a conductor overshadowed his work as a composer, though for me his music has always seemed sweetly scented with just a hint of sensual decadence. That is how one might best describe his Piano Quintet of 1919, a gorgeous score that could have been tailor-made for the players of the Goldner Quartet, whose smooth and ample tone sweeps into the long and juicy melodies that flood the score. It is also a gift for the pianist, Piers Lane, whose powerful fingers have the scope to work within the music’s weighty passages.

Louis Vierne became known in the early 1900s as the long-serving organist at Nôtre Dame in Paris, and there created his massive organ symphonies. Almost a direct contemporary of Pierné, he wrote music with more of an academic feel, passed down from his mentor César Franck. Also abundant in melody, the Goldner players show the result of almost 20 years together with perfect balance between instruments, precise intonation and an inherent beauty of tone. The sound quality is outstanding.