BORODIN Piano Quintet. String Quartet No 2
The comparative novelties here are Borodin’s Piano Quintet in C minor and his Cello Sonata in B minor – comparative, that is, in relation to the Second String Quartet, widely popular and widely recorded. However, neither the Quintet nor the Sonata is by any means unknown on disc. The Quintet featured compellingly on ‘Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2014’ with Alexander Mogilevsky as pianist (Warner, 8/15); the Cello Sonata was included alongside works by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich on a terrific 2011 disc from Alexander Chaushian and Yevgeny Sudbin (BIS, 8/11).
In fact, this new CD of the Piano Quintet, Cello Sonata and Second Quartet from the Goldner Quartet and Piers Lane replicates exactly the programme of a 2011 PraΩák Quartet release with Michal Ka√ka as soloist in the Cello Sonata and Jaromir Klepá∂ as pianist, well reviewed in Gramophone at the time (Praga Digitals, 9/11). However, newcomers intrigued by Borodin’s forays into chamber music will derive considerable satisfaction from the way that the Goldners and Piers Lane pinpoint the characteristics of the Quintet, an early, pre-First Symphony work but one that, for all its occasional nods to Mendelssohn, has the distinct imprint of folk-tinged melody that was to be one of Borodin’s mainstays.
The Cello Sonata, which has survived only in an incomplete set of parts and is known today in the reconstructed version by Mikhail Goldstein, again shows the direction in which Borodin’s melodic thinking was going: in the central movement particularly Julian Smiles and Piers Lane capture its warm romantic glow. That applies, too, to the Nocturne of the Second Quartet, a work of maturity and one that the Goldners interpret with a winning lyrical touch, well-projected energy and an instinctive feel for the musical language.