Ironwood’s releases are always a surefire winner; I’ve previously reviewed several of their discs, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Here, they’ve paired two French piano quintets together, one familiar, the other less so.

Album artwork

They begin with Louise Farrenc’s Quintet No 1 in A Minor, Op. 30, written in 1839. As a female composer working at a time when opportunities for professional female musicians were few and far between, Farrenc certainly had an uphill battle for recognition. Despite her enviable skill as both a composer and performer (she was the first female professor at the Paris Conservatoire!), Farrenc’s music has only been revived in the last few decades.

Ironwood play her music with some serious verve, and, frankly, it’s difficult to imagine...