Piano Trio in E flat Op. 1 No.1 (1794) [32:45]
Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 11 (1797) [21:46]
Piano Trio in D major Op. 70 No.1 Ghost (1808) [30:57]
Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 97 Archduke (1811) [39:23]
rec. Théâtre Impérial, Compiègne, Oise, November 1991 and the American Academy
and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, December 1992 (Op.11 and Op.97) EMI CLASSICS
3817512 [63:51 + 61:09]
is another in EMI’s twofer reissue series. The artists who
populate them, at least in the discs that I’ve encountered,
are all top names – the Chungs, the Menuhins, Tipo, Gavrilov.
The repertoire is standard – in the case of the musicians
already mentioned two of the three B’s; Bach and, as with
the Chungs, Beethoven.
set of the piano trios – Op.11 of course was originally written
for clarinet and only later published for violin – was recorded
in November 1991 and December 1992 in two locations either
side of the Atlantic. The performances are genial, tonally
warm and fastidious, often beautiful, sometimes under characterised.
Op.1 No.1 is elegant and sports a buoyant Scherzo though
cellist Myung-Wha Chung sounds a little recessive in comparison
with Kyung-Wha. Some may feel – I might as well admit that
I feel – that the finale is rather downplayed. There are
times here when not enough mischief is made in contrastive
episodes and by mischief one isn’t implying metrical displacements
or vulgarity. The same also applies elsewhere. The Ghost trio
was recorded at the same sessions and it reprises those classical
qualities that lend elegance and refinement to the playing
though once again there are times when the playing, whilst
never bland, seems to move without sufficient weight and
charge. I don’t feel this quite as much in the outer movements
but in the inner ones not enough is made of opportunities
Op.11 trio is full of felicitous touches and corporate sonority
The Allegro con brio goes with verve and is most attractively
paced – one certainly doesn’t miss the clarinet in this performance.
The Archduke is mellifluous and relaxed, anchored
by the splendid playing of Myung-Whun Chung. The string phrases
are conciliatory rather than weighted or trenchant – though
they’re not over-refined either. On their own terms the Chung
trio meets the challenges of the work deftly and responsibly.
They certainly catch the scherzo’s waywardness and bring
subtle colour and bow weight to the slow movement. Ensemble
is fine although I have to say I find the playing as such
my main concern throughout the four performances. The recorded
sound is excellent, the notes brief, but recommendation remains
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