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Franck, Richard: Piano Quartets, Fantasies - Bernhard Fograscher

Franck, Richard: Piano Quartets, Fantasies - Bernhard Fograscher

Audite  92.522

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Richard Franck: Piano Quartet in A major Op. 33, Piano Quartet in E major Op. 41, Three Fantasies Op. 28

Bernhard Fograscher (piano)
Christoph Schickedanz (violin)
Marius Nichiteanu (viola)
Mathias Beyer-Karlshoj (cello)


This SACD is a further addition to audite’s successful series of music by Eduard and Richard Franck – father and son. Like his father, Eduard, Richard Franck (1858-1938), one of the last representatives of late Romanticism, won a reputation as a fine pianist. In 1907 the Basler Nationalzeitung commented: “His outstanding quality is the art of making the piano sing; he is by turns tender and soft, warm and full of life.” But this former pupil of Reinecke also enjoyed a high reputation as a composer of chamber music and piano pieces. A contemporary reviewer in the Casseler Allgemeine Zeitung wrote in 1905: “The recital ended with the Piano Quartet in E, Op. 41 […]. Here again all the familiar qualities of Franck’s writing were in evidence: glorious melodies, unaffectedly natural harmony, rich invention and beautiful voice-leading, all combined with rhythmic verve and vitality.”

Richard Franck’s Fantasia for Pianoforte Op. 28 and the Piano Quartets Op. 33 and Op. 41 were written when Franck was at the height of his powers. The music captivates the listener with its sophisticated treatment of the musical material and the effective interaction of the four instruments. The recording pays close attention to detail while at the same time being both spacious and well-balanced.

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Review by John Broggio - September 9, 2007

A quite delightful disc from a hitherto unknown composer.

There are two piano quartets (the second is a short and rhapsodic one-movement affair) which are most pleasing on the ear. The first quartet is clearly modelled harmonically on the famous piano quintet of Dvorak and is combined with a melodic and contrapuntal approach that isn't too dissimilar to that of Mendelssohn (a family friend that also counted Schumann, Chopin and Wagner in their musical circle). Whilst this is not necessarily music of the masterpiece rank, it is far from being derivative and merits investigation from anyone with a weakness for either of Dvorak or Mendelssohn. The accompanying fantasies are arguably a three movement sonata that is/are quite beautiful depending upon your point of view.

The playing is unquestionably first rate, with a wonderful sense of playful freedom that never forgets to accentuate the underlying structure of the works. The quality of the musicianship is so good that one can never imagine the pieces in any other way both whilst listening and afterwards - surely the mark of a wonderful performance. Sensitivity abounds as does a pleasing sense of fantasy allied to purity of tone and intonation from all concerned.

The sound, recorded in the SWR studio in Karlsruhe, is clear and free from any disturbing artificially created resonance which can occasionally blight such venues and is nearly as good as the music making on offer though one isn't quite transported to the concert hall (which I suppose would be impossible in this case!)

Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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Comment by Tekrad - September 6, 2017 (1 of 1)

have certainly caught the "Franck Fever". It all started with SACD versions of Eduard Franck's Piano Trios/Quintets. They are very lyrical, straightforward and playfully romantic. I am a huge fan of Chamber music, so I am familiar with many composers. In my humble opinion, Eduard Frank and Richard Franck (son) continue the Mendelssohn chamber style...and you can certainly see the similarities. My Franck library has grown quickly - and although I try only to purchase SACD releases, I have moved to the recordings that are only offered on RBCD for the sake of obtaining this music that never fails to bring a smile.
If you are curious about Eduard and Richard Franck's works, you can find them all on the Audite label. Musicians of note are Christiane Edinger (violin), Richard Fograscher (piano), and especially Christoph Schickedanz's violin sonata performances.
I heartily recommend you catch the Franck fever, too!

Tekrad
Fort Lauderdale, Fl