BBC Music Magazine 5 stars.
Einar Englund (1916-1999) is one of the leading figures in postwar Finnish neo-classicism. A champion of 'absolute music', he composed mainly within traditional genres such as the symphony, concerto and sonata.
It was his Piano Quintet (1941) which first brought him to the attention of the public – and of Jean Sibelius, no less. The great man told him that he liked the work 'a lot', and remarked that 'you will always remember it as the first milestone in your career.' Englund described the style of the quintet as 'both thematically and harmonically an individual mixture of Franck, Reger, Brahms and Ravel!'
The String Quartet (1986) is a late work, more serene and balanced than the Quintet. Englund described it as 'neo-classical in style, romantic in content.' This disc thus brings together the first large-scale composition by the young man and the fruit of a late flowering.