My recording of the
month, without a shadow of a doubt.
The Xyrion Trio is new to me as an ensemble
(although not individual names).
Formed in 2001, this
all-female group clearly shows deep
affinity with the music of Beethoven.
A complete series of trios from his
source is to be welcomed, and nearly
unreservedly at that.
The so-called 'Ghost'
Trio is one of the best known of this
side of Beethoven's output - second
only probably to the 'Archduke'. The
first movement is marked 'Allegro vivace
e con brio' and it is certainly that
here – nearer a Presto, in fact. It
carries more than its fair share of
excitement, an excitement projected
all the more forcefully by the Xyrion
Trio's unanimity of ensemble and interpretative
thought. Nods towards the authentic
in low-vibrato violin playing work well.
The 'Largo assai ed espressivo' slow
movement includes moments of real mystery
and – importantly – spontaneity, despite
the studio origin of this disc. Interestingly
the Trio makes a point of relating the
Presto finale to the slow movement whenever
they can. Yet what pervades this finale
is an entirely apt sense of youthful
The second Trio of
Op. 70 is less well-known. The Xyrion
play with real belief in the work's
merits. The Poco sostenuto introduction
has a real sense of breadth and anticipation
before the first movement proper, which
begins with gritty cello playing marked
by its determination. The Xyrion has
the musical wherewithal to enjoy the
moments of respite and still preserve
the movement's structural integrity.
The gentle, appealing
Allegretto that follows has a wonderfully
evocative, hesitant close that leads
into the Allegretto ma non troppo -
note there is no 'real ' slow movement
to this Trio. Maria Kliegel's cello
'stretches' the initial melody into
life. There is the intimacy of chamber
invention present here in every bar,
an intimacy that acts in contrast to
the vigour of the finale. The Trio evidently
enjoys the shifting emotions of this
The Op. 44 Variations
form a delightful way to close this
well-filled release. The Theme is ultra-simple,
given out in octaves. There are challenges
here – note the deceptive ease of Kliegel's
cello in the Fourth Variation, where
decorations are dispatched with deceptive
ease. The Seventh Variation is in E
flat minor and again Kliegel impresses,
her cello singing in best lachrimose
manner ... and Bieler's continuation
hardly disappoints, either. The Trio
treats this work as seriously as the
Op. 70 ‘meat’ of the disc, and it pays
off in spades.
A wonderful disc, well
recorded and containing some magnificent
playing. Do hear this.