Concerto para Violino, Piano e Quarteto de Cordas em Ré Maior Op.21 / Poème, Op. 25
Concerto for Violin Piano and String Quartet in D M Op.21 / Poème, Op. 25

1. I Decidé - Animé
2. II Sicilienne: Pas vite
3. III Grave
4. IV Très Animé

5. Poème Op. 25, Brian Wigman, March 2013

“Bruno Monteiro and Joao Paulo Santos triumph again with this exceptional album of French music. Both of these exceptionally lovely works was dedicated to the great Eugene Ysaÿe, and fittingly they are both deeply challenging and refined. As with their previous albums, Monteiro and Santos prove to be terrific partners. Like their disc of the Schumann works, this release has already gotten enthusiastic praise. It's not hard to fathom why, either; both artists choose repertoire that they feel strongly about and commit only their best thoughts to disc. It's quite refreshing in an era where anybody will record anything – sometimes a second or third time – and get to hear such excellent music making.
A concerto for these forces is unusual to say the least, and yet Chausson balances everything effortlessly; you wouldn't want the work any other way. The Quarteto Lopes-Graça is impressive, but Santos and Monteiro tower over them. Monteiro plays handsomely, with total confidence and conviction. As I’ve previously mentioned, he has a unique sound, but so well does it fit the French music he plays that it seems trivial to question it. And again, Santos proves a miraculously sensitive artist. Perhaps the quartet blends less well than they should, but the piece itself is captivating and overall entirely satisfying.
The coupling is excellent, and comes in the form of the evergreen Poeme Op. 25. Arranged here for piano and violin, it sounds fresh and entirely natural. Monteiro thrills with a warm sound full with vibrato, and Santos follows him like a shadow. It's so convincing that you wonder why you don't hear the work this way more often. If you don't like French music, chamber music, or the violin, you won't hear anything to make you change your mind. However, provided you like any of those things, this CD should provide many hours of enjoyment. Excellent!"


Pizzicato, Remy Franck, October 2012

"Here is a passionate and highly expressive version of the Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet by Ernest Chausson, that does full justice to both the lyricism and dramatic power of the composition. In the "Poème", Portuguese violinist Bruno Monteiro shows a very warm and fluid sound that differentiates the different contrasting sections of the work."


Strings Magazine, Greg Cahill, September 2012

"Expressive, interpretative playing, beautiful tone, and a textbook ensemble mark this stunning recording of Ernest Chausson´s sometimes elegant and often dramatic Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet, as well as the monumental Poème for violin and orchestra, arranged here quite effectively for violin and piano. Portuguese violinist Bruno Monteiro delivers an emotional but tightly managed performance, over and again rising to the Chausson´s many challenges throughout these to great works – just listen to the way he handles the lengthy high-register passages at the close of the concerto´s first movement, "Decidé – Animé". This is a young chamber musician of extraordinary sensitivity. In terms of technique, Monteiro learned his lessons well while studying at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he was taught by Shmuel Ashkenasi, Patinka Kopec, Isidore Cohen, and members of the American String Quartet. As an artist, he shows himself to be deserving of a much larger slice of the limelight on the world stage."


The Strad, David Denton, September 2012

"This new release describes the work as a "concerto", and with the violin and piano placed well to the fore, it highlights the exanting technical demands in a finale where fingers fly around the violin fingerboard from the distinguished Portuguese violinist Bruno Monteiro. Up to that point it is a highly convincing account, beautifully played, with the gentle and unaffected Sicilienne preceding a slow Grave of quiet dignity. (…) But this Centaur disc is recommended for the rhapsodic account of the Poème, where Monteiro´s generous vibrato produces radiant colours to complement the generous backdrop from pianist João Paulo Santos."


Gramophone, Caroline Gill, September 2012

"An impressive line-up of some of Portugal´s best known chamber musicians, and the playing on this disc is inventing and lyrical in a way that shows that they are warmly engaged in their performance. (…) The solo violin tone is, in fact, sweet and beautiful."


Fanfare Magazine, Maria Nockin, September 2012

"Tracks one through four are devoted to the concerto (Chausson). Bruno Monteiro, João Paulo Santos and the Lopes-Graça Quartet begin with broad strokes that soon soften to an intimate lyricism that they paint with stunning tonal colours. There are several comparable recordings for this piece. Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and the Takacs String Quartet can be heard on an excellent Polygram recording from 1991. Itzhak Perlman, Jorge Bolet, and the Juilliard String Quartet recorded the work for Sony in 1984. Both of these discs have amazing playing but suffer from out-dated sound quality. Thus, the 2012 Centaur disc holds its own very well. (…) With regard to the Poème, Monteiro's violin trills are like sunlight on a rippling river. The most serious competition for this recording is with Julia Fischer's 2011 recording for Decca. Monteiro's approach is dramatic. Fischer's is lyrical. The sound is excellent on both discs, but I do think that Monteiro's personal interpretation tells a musical tale of striving for an ideal that he eventually achieves with the radiance of his playing."


International Record Review, Mark Pullinger, September de 2012

The performance is a pleasant one, the playing uninhibited from these Portuguese artists. They capture the passionate sweep and intensity of the Concert, especially its outer movements, while the Sicilienne second movement has charm."


Fanfare Magazine, Jerry Dubins, September 2012

"Monteiro plays with a seductively voluptuous tone that exudes Chausson’s fragrant (Poème), if somewhat dangerous, perfume with the unforced naturalness of a breath inhaled and exhaled. His is a performance filled with both touching vulnerability and barely suppressed rage. (…) After the Poème with some 75 recordings, the Concert shares a close contest for second place with the Poème de l’amour et de la mer, each having roughly 25 recordings, give or take. My trusted go-to among the versions I have has been around since 1983, but it features Itzhak Perlman, Jorge Bolet, and the Juilliard String Quartet, all in their prime, on a Sony CD that is now available at budget price. Overall, Perlman and company are a bit slower than Monteiro, Santos, and the Lopes-Graça Quartet, but tempos aside, I much prefer the newcomers for their lighter, more idiomatically French performance of the score and for the much better, up-to-date sound of the Centaur recording. This is definitely a disc I will be keeping, and not just for the novelty of the piano version of the Poème which, with further exposure is bound to grow on me, but also for the exceptionally fine playing of these outstanding Portuguese musicians. Very strongly recommended."


Audio Clásica, Bárbara Cordón Hernández, July 2012

"The Portuguese group led by the violinist Bruno Monteiro approaches the works with the necessary concentration and a less than ordinary intensity which finds its maximum expression in the sort of funeral parade which is the Grave."


Jornal de Letras, Maria Augusta Gonçalves, 6/16/ 2012

"All is played among the dialogue of the instruments, a dialogue which gains its owns will and which Bruno Monteiro and João Paulo Santos seem to dominate as few can, after the years they have worked together. Bruno Monteiro, always clear, precise and pungent, much as the repertoire so demands, has correspondence in the mastery of João Paulo Santos. The interpretation of both of them and the choice of the two least recurrent works of Chausson sustains the importance of this CD, dedicated to the French composer."


MusicWeb International, Byzantion, June 2012

"Some of Portugal's leading chamber musicians team up for this recital of two of Ernest Chausson's most famous works. (…) For the Concerto there is stiff competition, none more so than a crème-de-la-crème line-up of Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Takács Quartet released by Decca half a dozen years ago (E4756709) as part of the Joshua Bell Edition. Within the last six months a new Naxos release (Meadowmount Trio/Wihan String Quartet) is not quite as strong as the present one. (…) Performances here are strong enough to warrant consideration. (…) Monteiro flourishes with the added support of the Lopes-Graça Quartet in the Concerto, which is surely one of the biggest and best sextets in the Romantic repertoire: lyrical, intense, dreamy, inventive, reminiscent in spirit of Franck's earlier Piano Quintet, and in the right hands, soaring to the same ecstatic heights. Certainly the performers here seem convinced of its potentialities, expressively twisting and turning as page after page of Chausson’s marvellous score takes flight, like beautiful butterflies on a summer zephyr. Sound quality too, from a technical point of view, is very good."