Finely balanced music-making makes a strong case for Farrenc

Linos Ensemble: Farrenc

The Strad Issue: November 2023

Description: Finely balanced music-making makes a strong case for Farrenc

Musicians: Linos Ensemble

Works: Farrenc: Piano Trio no.2 in D minor op.34; Trio no.4 in E minor for flute, cello and piano op.45; Variations concertantes sur un mélodie Suisse op.20; Violin Sonata no.1 in C minor op.37

Catalogue number:

CPO 555 538-2

Louise Farrenc’s works reflect her composition studies with Anton Reicha rather than her Parisian roots and their late-Classical style, skilful craftsmanship and melodiousness have often drawn comparison with those of Mendelssohn. Throughout these performances, Konstanze Eickhorst revels in the brilliance of Farrenc’s pianism, overcoming the technical challenges of the outer movements of op.34 with panache; but she never overshadows her colleagues, ensuring the string lines come through the textures. Such democratic awareness is also evident in the sonata-form opening movement of op.45, but flautist Kersten McCall is allowed to take centre stage in its songful ternary Andante and contrast her athleticism and lyricism in its energetic Scherzo and Trio and motoric finale. The string players in both works flit in and out of the limelight with due musical sensitivity.

Eickhorst and violinist Winfried Rademacher combine in urgent, full-blooded accounts of the outer movements of the sonata and admirably contrast the Poco adagio’s noble opening melody with its agitated central section. The oddball here is the salon-like op.20, which, following a majestic introduction, provides ample opportunity for Rademacher and Eickhorst to strut their stuff. The recording is spacious, clear and well balanced, but a couple of misleading presentational errors mar the overall package.

Robin Stowell