Trio Parnassus play Léon Boëllmann chamber music

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Léon Boëllmann (1862 – 1897) was a late French romantic composer who had an outstanding reputation among his peers during his lifetime. He was a talented organist and pianist remembered today mostly for his organ works, notably his Suite gothique of 1895. Although his music was largely forgotten shortly after his death, there has been a revival of interest in his chamber music of late. Still, this MD&G CD contains the only currently available recordings of both the Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op. 19 and the Quartet for violin, viola, cello and piano Op. 10.

Both of the major compositions on this disc were written in the last 5 years of Boëllmann’s short life. I feel that the quartet is the more successful of the two works. The trio doesn’t hold together quite as well for me, but it is still very enjoyable with many very lovely sections. Boellmann’s chamber music is suggestive of French romantics, César Franck, Gabriel Fauré and Camille Saint-Saëns. It is melodically graceful, flowing and often very peaceful.

The album concludes with a brief Largo for piano trio that was excerpted from his Heures mystiques. It is only two and a half minutes long, but it is remarkably lovely, with an understated, measured stateliness and a poignantly simple melody. Even the silence that follows it is beautiful. So, this album is highly recommended for collectors of romantic chamber music, especially for the piano quartet and for the two minutes of bliss at the end.

Léon Boëllmann - Piano Quartet in F Minor Op. 10 (1890)