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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Divertimento in B flat major K254 [17:51]
Piano Trio in G major K496 [23:30]
Piano Trio in C major K548 [18:44]
The Florestan Trio (Anthony Marwood (violin); Richard Lester (cello); Susan Tomes (piano))
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 18–20 May 2006. DDD
HYPERION CDA67609 [60:07]

With the complete Beethoven Piano Trios recorded, not to mention numerous others, The Florestan Trio now have the six Mozart ones under their belt as well. This recording of Piano Trios numbers 1, 2 and 5 follows one made twelve months previously of the remaining three. Whilst this is by no means the first recording of these works, it is certainly up there with the best of them. 

The piano trio genre was not Mozart’s most prolific area of composition, probably for the simple reason that they didn’t earn him very much money. It is likely therefore that they were intended for private enjoyment. The first was written in 1776, whilst the other five were all written in the last five years of Mozart’s life. It is certainly interesting to compare Mozart’s early attempt to the piano trio form with his later ones. The Divertimento in B flat is effectively his first piano trio, though with the cello doubling the bass of the piano almost throughout it becomes a glorified violin sonata. However, as the works progress the instruments take on a more interactive role as demonstrated in K548 with their perfectly synchronized ornaments in the Allegro and the delightful solos in the Andante cantabile. 

The Trio’s Mozart interpretations are really second to none. With a delightful ‘classical’ approach their playing is light and nimble, and never too weighty even when the music might suggest it. Particularly in K548, they slip between light and heavy naturally and seamlessly. The balance between the three instruments is spot on throughout, which reflects not only the players’ astute and perfectly even-handed awareness of each other but also the skill and sensitivity of the recording engineer. 

The Florestan Trio are no strangers to the recording stage, and are collecting an enviable amount of excellent reviews. This is another one to add to the treasury. Bravo!

Max Kenworthy 



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