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Charles-Auguste De BÉRIOT (1802-1870)
Piano Trio No.1 Op.58 (1847) [17:58]
Grand Trio Op.64 (published 1850) [22:50]
Trio Op.4 [11:57]
Nocturne Plaintes de jeune fille [Piano Trio Op.34] (1841) [9:04]
Kuniko Nagata (violin); Mark Drobinsky (cello); Hirotoshi Kasai (piano)
rec. no details given
TALENT DOM 2911 127 [62:44]

Experience Classicsonline

The current exploration of de Bériotís Violin Concertos on Naxos is one that should prove of interest to those intrigued by the fusion of bel canto lyricism and Paganinian fireworks embodied by these works. Somewhat lower down the hierarchy perhaps are the chamber works and whilst they have never been entirely neglected, they are certainly not popular and even the more assiduous collector of mid-nineteenth century piano trios Ė in this case Ė may be hard pressed to have heard a concert performance or put his hands on a recording.

To this end this latest release may fill a need. Letís take the Op.58 trio written around 1847. It starts with a noble introduction, and then explores more obviously and generously lyric themes. Itís set out well for the instruments. Melodic distribution is adeptly varied and the violin Ė the composerís own instrument of course Ė doesnít always hog things as one might have expected. In fact the piano is very much primus inter pares. The wistfulness of the opening paragraphs of the central movement are counterbalanced almost immediately by the assertive second theme. After this the finale is high-spirited if a little conventional despite the flourishes along the way.

The Op.64 so-called Grand Trio was published three years later. There is more bel canto here, profuse and warmly aerated and textured. One of the things that keeps this work on its feet and prevents it toppling into easy lyricism is the way de Bériot fuses these lyrical episodes with the Corinthian columns of his emotional architecture Ė particularly true in the second movement where there is strength and a stoic reserve at work as well as more obviously pliant feelings. The vigorous finale is exciting and splendidly thrown off by the three adept performers.

The early Op.4 trio begins in mock-portentous fashion but opens out with a maestoso flourish. Itís a very compact work with some variations at its heart, which are flattered by some pleasant decorative passages. Even when the violin reasserts the probing big boned portentousness with which the trio started itís over quickly; the Ďtrumpetí calls to attention suggest a military finale with march dynamism sweeping all before it. The Nocturne Plaintes de jeune fille is something of a playful Schubert tribute Ė engaging if, letís be brutal, a bit salon-trivial.

The undated, unlocated performances are big-boned and quite assertive. Prisoners are not taken but the lyric episodes are not stinted. The balance on the whole is usually a just one, if at times things are not quite as deft as they might be. Still, engaging works, strongly projected.

Jonathan Woolf





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