Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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A Lotus Blossoming

Musicweb International (UK)
Dominy Clements


This is an intriguing coupling of two fascinating but stylistically disparate works. The booklet notes go as far as they can in making a case for relating Zemlinsky and Messiaen, but the points of contrast are stronger.
Modelled on the example of Brahms and stamped with that great master’s approval, Zemlinsky’s Trio in D minor counts amongst his earlier works. This is the kind of quasi-symphonic chamber music which is a demonstration vehicle for thematic development both within movements and over the span of the piece, integrating fragments of the opening movement into the finale, and creating a magnificent depth of contrast between eloquent and dramatic outer movements, and a serenely expressive central Andante... 

One of the masterpieces of the 20th century, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time has no shortage of fine recordings...The Amici Ensemble is excellent, but Ensemble Liaison has them beaten in the Quatour. From the start in the Liturgie de cristal there is more character in the little birdsong statements, and in general throughout the string intonation is more secure. There are lovely touches throughout this score, and the Liaison players make the most of most of them. The playful textures of the Intermède are a treat, and the extended solos are all taken with suitable profundity. The unison playing in, for instance, the Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes is by turns delicious and full of electric impact...

The Liaison Ensemble is very good here as well...this Melba recording offers an equally refined performance in technical terms; with plenty of drama