Persuasive accounts of this at-times impressive student fare

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective: Coleridge-Taylor

The Strad Issue: August 2022

Description: Persuasive accounts of this at-times impressive student fare

Musicians: Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Works: Coleridge-Taylor: Nonet in F minor; Piano Trio in E minor; Piano Quintet in G minor

Catalogue number: CHANDOS CHAN 20242

Coleridge-Taylor wrote the works on this recording when he was still a teenager studying at the Royal College of Music in London. They are closer to Brahms than Hiawatha, but certainly worth an outing. In the opening Allegro of the Nonet (using Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet line-up plus oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn), the strings pick up the opening theme with an intoxicating sweep. Violinist Elena Urioste neatly negotiates some nifty high writing in the Andante. There is rhythmic energy in the Scherzo, with another of Coleridge-Taylor’s lilting tunes, played with a hint of swing, and there are patches of lively counterpoint in the final Allegro molto. The musicians convey the genial quality of the piece, with playing that presses onwards, while sounding unhurried.

The Piano Trio is a short, attractive work in which nothing really gets going. The Piano Quintet is on a grander scale, with many gradings of colour and intensity. In the second-movement Larghetto cellist Laura van der Heijden gives a gentle account of the opening melody, and the following interplay between strings and pianist Tom Poster has a nice elegance to it. There is urgent, dramatic playing in the final Allegro molto, which features an up-tempo fugue on a folk-like theme. The recording is clear and warm.