Louise Farrenc & Camille Saint-Saens: Romantic Dreams – Quintets for Piano and Strings

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RELEASE DATE: 24/07/2020
1 CD

Be transported back in time to the salons of 19th-century Paris by one of Australia’s finest historically inspired ensembles.

Acclaimed period-instrument ensemble Ironwood revive the sounds of the French Romantic through works by Louise Farrenc and Camille Saint-Saëns. These wonderful piano quintets provide contrasting glimpses of the rapidly changing tastes of mid-19th-century Paris, from the Schubertian Classicism in Farrenc’s piece to Saint-Saëns’ incredible work that seems to move from the Baroque to Blondie (yes, really!) via cabaret and the shimmering sounds of early Hollywood.

Ironwood’s novel interpretation of these works reflects the ensemble’s research into historical performance practices, informed by very early acoustic, electrical and piano roll recordings – including some by Saint-Saëns himself – and by contemporaneous written texts by French and Belgian musicians. Through this research, coupled with the sounds of gut-strung stringed instruments and an original Érard concert grand piano from 1869, this recording re-imagines the expressive sound world that these composers envisaged for their sumptuous music.


Quintet for piano and strings No. 1 in A minor, Op. 30

1 I. Allegro

2 II. Adagio non troppo

3 III. Scherzo (Presto)

4 IV. Finale (Allegro)


Quintet for piano and strings in A minor, Op. 14

5 I. Allegro moderato e maestoso

6 II. Andante sostenuto

7 III. Presto

8 IV. Allegro assai, ma tranquillo

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