The Mariani Klavierquartett has only been around since 2009, but they’ve already accumulated an impressive body of work. This is their fifth release, and it’s a winner all the way around. Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) was a well-respected composer in her lifetime. Her music was frequently performed, and she was the Associate Director of the Opera Academy in Berlin.
Mysteriously, her music lapsed into obscurity after her death. I say mysteriously because it had nothing to do with the quality of her work.
Her piano quartets are but two such examples. Both were composed around 1860. These chamber works show some inspiration from Schumann. Mayer’s melodies, however, seem more fully formed. And, as befitting a member of the Opera Academy, they’re quite lyrical.
Mayer also works with her material in interesting ways. These are developed with imagination, sometimes with surprising harmonies.
The Mariani Piano Quartet plays with enthusiasm and fire. When the music calls for it, the quartet can play with delicacy and beauty. But there’s still energy to these performances that give the music its lift.
If you enjoy the chamber music of Brahms and Schumann, get this release. Mayer brings something fresh and new to the table. Something that’s been missing for about 150 years.
Emilie Mayer: Piano Quartets