It’s not long ago
I was being pretty dismissive of a Gemini budget reissue of
these works (see review)
from an earlier distinguished group of French musicians (Collard,
Dumay, Lodéon), so it’s good to report a very different experience
here. In fact, Braley and the Capuçon brothers have steadily
been making waves in a number of areas: solo, concerto and chamber.
This Schubert playing contains, quite simply, some of the most
charming, poetic and exhilarating music-making I’ve heard in
It’s been said often
enough that getting the right tempo solves many musical problems.
It may be simplistic, but there’s some truth in it, and these
players seem to gauge each movement’s pulse and phrasing to
perfection. I have to confess to liking bright, swift (ish)
speeds for these works, but not accompanied by aggression or
brashness – as above. Here, the bounce and lilt of the outer
movements is perfectly contrasted by smooth, flowing inner movements.
The imperious, forthright opening of the E flat recalls Beethoven
and is indicative of the players’ general approach to the music.
They are careful to observe in the famous march-like andante
the additional marking con moto, and I think the
balance of wistful nostalgia and forward momentum is just right.
Braley’s sparkling finger-work in some of the trickier passages
is a delight, as in the scherzo of the B flat, but there is
such a feeling of true partnership and give-and-take between
the three that criticism really is almost silenced. Though it
hardly matters with playing of this quality, I have to mention
that the fillers aren’t as generous as some rivals; mind you,
I could easily live without the youthful Sonatensatz,
whereas the Notturno is rather special, a raptly emotive
little treasure that looks ahead to the poetic glories of the
String Quintet, and is played here with a treasurable simplicity
that eschews all sentimentality.
This is easily one
of the best chamber discs to come my way for a while, and goes
straight to the top for my recommendations of these wonderful
works. Notes are adequate and audio quality excellent.