A ground-breaking recording, pairing Messiaen’s classic quartet with Kruaze’s poetic homage, with one of the greatest British and much-missed cellists, Christopher van Kampen. Recorded at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh.
….An all-star team for this performance of Messiaen’s extraordinary quartet, a team which manages to outdo all its rivals in tonal warmth and intensity of feeling. Christopher van Kampen is supreme, and significantly slower than anyone else, in the fifth movement’s ecstatically sweet hymn. Both van Kampen and Madeleine Mitchell are helped by a recording of almost extravagant depth and range, and Mitchell leads the work to its sumptuously ethereal apotheosis with a winning blend of poise and fervour.Joanna MacGregor achieves a veiled smoothness which is at the opposite extreme from the ‘granitic’ vehemence she delivers elsewhere. In these passages, MacGregor’s Steinway threatens to shatter my speakers, but the impact is never inappropriately over-the-top in this least churchy of religious compositions….the competition is left sounding almost dull by comparison.