FAURE: QUARTETS FOR PIANO & STRINGS
SALLY PINKAS, piano
ADASKIN STRING TRIO
REVIEWSCRITICS' CHOICE 2009
Donald Vroon, Editor, American Record Guide
"...the present issue is among the more consistently satisfying accounts of Fauré’s tandem in recent years—engaging, warmly phrased with winsome earnestness, unhurried, yet certainly not lacking for momentum... the musicians love what they’re doing. You will, too... certainly recommended."
Fanfare [May/June 2009]
"[A] fine American recording: humble, simple, direct, winsome... the sound is very good."
American Record Guide [May/June 2009]
"There is something humble and direct about these performances. It is very winsome. But all you need to know is this is competitive with the best, beautifully recorded, and well worth hearing."
Donald Vroon, American Record Guide [March/April 2009]
"This recording [of Faure's Quartet No.1] does much to sustain the buoyancy intrinsic in the writing. One is particularly persuaded by the ease of the ensemble to guide the ear... The Second Quartet derives great mobility from the ensemble's firmly etched melodies... this recording has a remarkable consistency of animation, the string playing achieving a sonority and rare joie de vivre and the pianist threading into the texture with complete authority."
International Record Review [March 2009]
"The Adaskin Trio...along with Israeli pianist Sally Pinkas, turn in first-class readings of Fauré’s Piano Quartets."
Turok's Choice [Issue No.208, March 2009]
"[an] excellent release...performed with trademark vibrancy by the Adaskin String Trio. The piano performance of Israeli-born Sally Pinkas on this album is nothing short of remarkable. Her impressive list of achievements merely acts as a backdrop to a performance of passion, precision, and perfection. The Adaskin String Trio’s enchanting performance of both compositions underlines their reputation. The trio radiate an authority based upon sound knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of the music at hand. There is a powerful magnetism to the overall effect which shines forth from these two beautiful compositions...This is an album that contains some of Faure’s most absorbing and satisfying music. Exquisitely performed and recorded it is a true joy to experience."
Jeff Perkins, BlogCritics [February 2009]
"...after these ferociously gorgeous Faure readings, I want to know [the Adaskin Trio and Sally Pinkas] much better."
Audiophile Audition [January 2009]
"The Adaskin String Trio’s new recording with Sally Pinkas for MSR Classics is worth celebrating for several reasons. First of all, the performance is splendid. A comparison with the 1992 Ma-Stern-Laredo-Ax recording of the quartets (Sony) stymied me when ít came to a preference. These Canadian string players (two of whom now teach at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford) and the wonderful Dartmouth-based pianist, Sally Pinkas, are a well-knit ensemble and play with passion as well as precision. MSR’s recording creates a warmer ambience than Sony’s and gives the Adaskin’s strings a more even texture, beautifully captured by a fine local label – that's another thing to celebrate!"
D. Perkins, Classical Voice of New England [December 2008]
PROGRAM NOTESGabriel Fauré, born in the south of France, studied in Paris not at the hidebound Conservatoire, but rather at the École Niedermeyer, where he received an unusually broad musical education in three respects that set him apart from the products of the "official" school": a thorough understanding of older music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, familiarity with the German tradition, including Bach and Beethoven, and a more-than-nodding acquaintance with such dangerous moderns as Schumann, Liszt, and Wagner—this last element through the good offices of the young Saint-Saëns, who from 1861 on was professor of piano at the school. Fauré himself went on to become one of the most distinguished teachers of the turn of the century era (his students included Ravel and Enesco as well as Nadia Boulanger, who became a singularly influential teacher in her own right). French music in the late nineteenth century was divided into highly politicized camps—the Wagnerians, the Franckists, the followers of Massenet, and others. Fauré kept largely to himself, not joining any clique. Even after making the customary pilgrimage to Bayreuth to hear the Ring, he revealed almost no influence of the experience in his own work. Thus his work has always stood somewhat apart, sometimes overlooked and misunderstood, though certain partisans--notably Nadia Boulanger--have ardently promoted it. Fauré’s greatest strengths lay in the realms of song and chamber music; many of his works in both categories are treasured by performers and familiar to listeners. The First Piano Quartet is one of his most frequently performed compositions. Oddly enough, the Second Quartet, which can lay claim to being one of his finest works, is encountered relatively rarely.
The ADASKIN STRING TRIO has won over audiences internationally with exuberant and stirring performances. Their playing has been hailed for "vigor, precision and stylistic certitude" (Charleston Gazette) as well as "spontaneity, intensity and charm" (Peninsula Review) and the Boston Globe praises them for "directing the listener to the heart of the matter." Formed in 1994, the trio performs extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and has appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and in Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara and Chicago. In addition, the Trio’s concerts have been regularly recorded for broadcast by CBC Radio, Radio-Canada and National Public Radio. This dynamic ensemble commands a large string trio repertoire ranging from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to Dohnanyi, Rozsa, Villa-Lobos, Schnittke, and composers of today including commissioned works by Murray Adaskin, Robert Carl and David Macbride among others. In addition, the trio enjoys collaborations of the highest level with various artists. The Trio and pianist Sally Pinkas have established themselves as powerful interpreters of numerous masterpieces from piano quartet literature. Other collaborators have included oboist Thomas Gallant, guitarist Eliot Fisk, bassist Robert Black, and accordion virtuoso Joseph Petric with whom they commissioned Raymond Luedeke to write a new work entitled Tango Dreams. Previous recordings include the complete Beethoven String Trios on the Musica Omnia label which won acclaim in the press. Although the Adaskin String Trio is currently based in New England, the members are all originally from Canada. They met in Montreal where they each studied chamber music with founding Orford Quartet cellist Marcel Saint-Cyr, and later completed two years as ensemble-in-residence at The Hartt School under the guidance of the Emerson Quartet. The Trio is named in honor of Murray Adaskin, one of Canada's most loved and respected composers, and two of his brothers, violinist Harry Adaskin and producer and music educator John Adaskin.
Emlyn Ngai is Concertmaster of Tempesta di Mare and Associate Concertmaster of the Carmel Bach Festival. In 1995, he won First Prize on baroque violin at the Locatelli Concours Amsterdam, and has since given recitals in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has been on faculty at McGill University and Boston University and currently teaches violin and early music at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Violist Steve Larson has performed throughout North America, Europe, Japan and China and has appeared as a guest with ensembles such as the Emerson and Miami String Quartets. Since 1998, he has taught at The Hartt School where he also serves as Chair for Chamber Music. The year before joining the Hartt faculty he won second prize at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in the UK, receiving the special award for his performance of the commissioned work. He is also a member of the Avery Ensemble, a group renowned for both passionate playing and imaginative programming of a wide variety of repertoire.
Mark Fraser holds degrees from McGill University, l'Université de Montréal, and The Hartt School and studied violoncello with Walter Joachim, Aldo Parisot and Yuli Turovsky. For many years he was the Artistic Director of Project Renaissance, an arts festival near Montreal. He is an active recitalist in eastern Canada and the United States. Recording credits include a disc of works by J.S. Bach, Schumann and Prokofiev with pianist Sooka Wang.
Israeli-born pianist SALLY PINKAS follows an active performing career, encompassing a wide repertoire as well as a passion for chamber music and teaching. She has presented recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, Italy’s Villa Serbelloni and Villa Aurelia, for Israel Radio Etnachta Series, in Bulgaria, France and throughout the United States. Concerto work includes appearances with the Boston Pops, Aspen Philharmonia, Jupiter Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Dobrich Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria. US summer festival credits include Rockport, Music Mountain, Marlboro, Tanglewood and Aspen, and abroad Kfar Blum (Israel), Rocca di Mezzo (Italy) and Pontlevoy (France). Pinkas' repertoire ranges from the traditional to the contemporary, and includes many works written for her. In 1996, she was awarded a Howard Fellowship by Brown University for a 2-disc recording of George Rochberg’s solo piano works, released by Gasparo. She has also recorded Debussy’s Twelve Etudes and Estampes (Centaur), Bread and Roses: Piano works by Christian Wolff (Mode), and Fauré’s Thirteen Nocturnes (Musica Omnia), which was named one of 2002's best CD’s by Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe. In chamber music collaborations with the Ciompi, Leontovych, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Biava and Lydian String Quartets, Pinkas has established herself as a compelling partner. Since 1992, the Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo (with her husband Evan Hirsch) has performed throughout the United States as well as in China, Nigeria, Russia, Israel, Italy, France and Bulgaria, accepting return engagements at many of the venues. The Duo has commissioned, premiered and recorded works by George Rochberg, Daniel Pinkham, Thomas Oboe Lee and Peter Child for the Gasparo, Arsis and Albany labels. Other regular partners include flutist Fenwick Smith, with whom Pinkas has released a 3-disc set featuring the works of Gaubert (Naxos), and the Adaskin String Trio. Trained in the US, Pinkas holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music, and a PhD in Composition and Theory from Brandeis University. Pianist-in-residence at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, she is also Professor of Music at Dartmouth's Music Department, and an Artist-teacher at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Violin: Louis Guersan, Paris (ca.1750)
Viola: Roy Morgan, Chicago (ca.1930-40)
Violoncello: Nestor Audinot, Paris (1895)
Piano: Hamburg Steinway D
PROGRAMGabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
QUARTET for PIANO and STRINGS No.1 in C MINOR, Op.15 (1877)
QUARTET for PIANO and STRINGS No.2 in G MINOR, Op.45 (1886)