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Music@Menlo Live 2012

Running for 10 years, but little known of in UK, this USA West Coast festival is of great appeal and the release of its 2102 programme on disc is strongly recommended to collectors who favour live music making over studio recordings.

I have enjoyed 3 of the 6 discs, those which feature some less familiar music from the chamber music canon, and have found each engrossing and full of intensity in performance; vividly recorded by Da-Hong Seetoo, to whom the project's success is substantially owing.

The best known names are its directors David Finkel and Wu Han, together with pianist Gilbert Kalisch, but the supporting standard is high, whether from established artists or students.

I have been engrossed by high-romantic chamber music such as the Faure's 2nd piano quartet and Dvorak's biggest; the Chausson chamber Concerto; and I've been persuaded that Hermann's scary Psycho Suite is worth concert exposure !

There is no applause on the discs.

To get the atmosphere, try some of the many You-Tube postings, such as a rare Schnittke piece for 3-pianists which rouses the young audience to infectious furore !

Peter Grahame Woolf

PS I have snatched time to sample one of the discs with more regular repertoire, and am pleased to confirm that in no 1, Beethoven's Op 70/2 trio is entirely satisfying; in Schubert Kalisch charms in 6 German dances, and Belman & Pohjonen (neither known to us) are impeccable in the hazardous violin/piano Fantasy inC which, I'd suppose, cannot have been risked recorded live before?

Details from www.musicatmenlo.org